6/9: Blue Jays
6/21: Braves (no Chipper)
7/2: Blue Jays
Behold Jarrod Washburn's pitching schedule. Seem easy? You betcha. Going into the All Star Break, Jarrod will have wrapped up an eight-start stretch against a few of the worst lineups (against lefties) in baseball. It's no surprise, then, that over that span so far he's only allowed 16 runs in 44.2 innings. These teams can't really hit, and when you're dealing with teams that can't really hit, even the most mediocre of pitchers can begin to show some promise.
This stretch couldn't come at a better time, not with the Mariners trying to sell Washburn as high as is humanly possible. Because as little meaning as there truly is in a hot streak, it's still virtually impossible for an executive to shake the notion that he's better off landing a guy who's going good than landing an equivalently-talented guy who's struggled a bit. That's just the way the human brain works, and fortunately for the Mariners, Washburn's run prevention has been good enough lately to inflate his perceived value. Think about it this way:
(1) Bad GMs will be drawn in by Washburn's name, experience and hot streak
(2) Average GMs will be drawn in by the artificially improved strikeout and walk rates, and also a little by the hot streak
(3) Good GMs wouldn't ever come sniffing around Washburn anyway
With every additional start like tonight's, Washburn only makes himself look better to suitors, increasing our odds of not only getting rid of him, but also adding something with a little value. And considering I pretty much never thought that possible before, I'm willing to set aside my desire to watch him suffer in the hopes that his superficial success will take him away. Because, oh, how I'd love to see him get taken away. The 80 starts he's made in Seattle have felt like 800, and since he's got the whole trifecta of being mediocre, expensive, and unappealing down cold, I'm ready for him to go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just a long ways away.
If I'm Pelekoudas, I'm working the phones non-stop trying to get a bite by pimping this guy's recent success. And if I can't drum up much interest by the end of the break, I schedule Washburn to start one of those three games against Cleveland (who also can't hit) in one last-ditch effort to make him look as good as he can. In particular I'm calling every National League GM of a team in a decently-sized ballpark that's willing to listen, because a big park in the NL is well-suited to Washburn's skillset, and while that's kind of like saying a big bowl with water is well-suited to your fish, that's the sort of salesmanship with which Pelekoudas ought to become familar. After all, he'll have to be at least a little persuasive. People like Washburn don't tend to move themselves.
I don't like Jarrod Washburn. I've never liked Jarrod Washburn. But if this little stretch of starts against bad lineups is enough to turn him into something half-decent, then at least this aggravating chapter in Mariner history could have a happy ending. Just don't blow it in the meantime, Jarrod. Try not to suck until you're traded, because nobody wants to see much more of you here, and in the event that you do something stupid to render yourself undesirable to other GMs, you have my word that the consequences will be unpleasant. Especially unpleasant for us, but especially unpleasant for you.
Biggest Contribution: Ichiro, +16.1%
Biggest Suckfest: Jose Lopez, -23.1%
Most Important AB: Sexson homer, +24.3%
Most Important Pitch: Bankston homer, -16.7%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -5.9%
Total Contribution by Lineup: -50.7%
Total Contribution by Opposition: +6.6%
(What is this chart?)