Pitcher A: 2.3 BB/9, 5.6 K/9, 1.1 HR/9, 37% GB%, 88.3 MPH fastball
Pitcher B: 2.3 BB/9, 5.2 K/9, 1.1 HR/9, 38% GB%, 88.9 MPH fastball
Pitcher A – Ryan-Rowland Smith, in his eight starts since returning from Tacoma. Pitcher B – Jarrod Washburn’s 2009 season, Seattle+Detroit.
Seriously, I’m not sure these two guys could be any more similar. They both throw high-80s fastballs up in the zone, big slow breaking balls, and rely on their outfielders and the dimensions of Safeco Field to make them look good. When their fly balls stay in the park, they’re effective. When the ball heads over the fence, they’re not. They are the exact same guy.
There’s two lessons to be learned from this:
1. Replacing Jarrod Washburn wasn’t hard, and trading him didn’t open up any kind of hole in the rotation.
2. Ryan Rowland-Smith isn’t an ace in the making. Whatever you thought of Washburn as a pitcher, you should think it of Hyphen too. They’re the same guy.
As we saw with Washburn, there’s nothing wrong with having a pitch-to-contact flyball lefty in Safeco with a good outfield defense. The symmetry provided can add up to more than the individual sums. But while RR-S is a decent young arm, don’t buy too much into starts like yesterday. He’s Washburn 2.0.