Game 124, Mariners at White Sox
Washburn v Buehrle, 5:11
I’m tired of everyone hating on Jarrod Washburn just because he’s bad.
Did you know that if you drop starts where he didn’t go six innings pitched while giving up three or fewer earned runs, he has a 100% quality start percentage? Like the win and the save, the quality start should be your arbitrary statistical measure of choice in evaluating pitchers.
Speaking of arbitrary measures, you may have not noticed that Washburn’s been doing quite nicely lately. Despite not doing anything at all differently — his pitches are the same, he’s slinging them right over the plate as usual (see that great Lookout Landing coverage) and yet the results have changed. The answer is obvious: Jarrod’s doing better in a way we just can’t see in the way he throws, the way the pitches move, or in any other way — so he must be doing something different that we can’t quantify, and that non-quantifiable difference is resulting in quantifiable results. Sometimes analysis has to bow down to analysis, and this is one of those cases.
How good is his splitter? It’s that good. Look through the pitch logs and check it out. It’s crazy. It’s seemingly logged as a changeup, a cutter, and a slider! It’s so deceptive that it has essentially the same characteristics as other pitches. That’s what’s putting the fear into batters. How can they know if a pitch that looks the same has one of two different names? That’s messing with their heads.
9″ of break on that splitter — that’s more than a fastball!
And what about keeping hitters off balance? Since June, they’ve put up a .271/.332/412 line, where before they were hitting .318/.363/.528. That’s crazy improvement! Sure, you’re going to hear from some people who want to tell you that pitchers don’t have that much control over what happens when opposing hitters make contact, and point you to studies by some Voros guy, or Woolner, or whoever, but I’m going to point you to this:
The results don’t lie: when you look at the season in which the first ten starts are weighed against the second part, Washburn has obviously learned how to control the game. You can make up a theory to explain away whatever, but given two theories: Jarrod’s better since a selected date and now because of reasons, and Jarrod’s better for no reason at all, the view brokered by all those people who hate Jarrod for personal or statistical reasons, well, it’s pretty obvious that the first one’s the right one.