I wasn't able to watch very much of this and the archives aren't loaded, so I've little to say.
- It's always something with Washburn. Whenever he pitches a good game, he always has to have some shiny new reason behind his success. Today he's giving credit to an improved sinker that he claims to have used to induce some timely groundballs. Whether or not this is true, I can't say - and, honestly, there's no reason for him to make it up - but in the end, you have to look at the immediate results, and Washburn's results were no different than they usually are. He didn't throw a lot of strikes (61%), he didn't miss a bunch of bats (7), and he didn't keep the ball out of the air (33% GB). He was just regular old Jarrod Washburn with a little luck and some lousy competition, and that's the formula that led to his eight shutout innings.
That comes off sounding more harsh than I'd like, and Washburn did have his high points, including the whole sequence he threw to Morneau that led to the strikeout. It's not like he doesn't deserve any of the credit for today's outcome. He just doesn't deserve very much. I know that pitchers love to believe that they're directly responsible for results, since they're the people at the heart of the game, but so much is out of their hands...I guess nobody wants to take that kind of blow to their ego, but just once I'd like to see a pitcher come out and say he got lucky. (Hugging the center fielder isn't enough.) Forget about the cute little explanations. Just say "I didn't pitch much differently and today I got a few breaks." Is that so hard? No one's going to think any less of you.
I should be nice. Jarrod pitched well enough to win. I'm just not going to buy that he's a changed man. Not yet.
- Today was proof - irrefutable proof - that good defense can win you some ballgames. From Gutierrez's preposterous diving catch to Cedeno's charge and throw to Yuni's work to Chavez's range, the Mariners playing behind Washburn today might've saved him as many as five or six bases, which carry with them a run value higher than the two runs the lineup produced. Let this be the game that allows Gutierrez to win Seattle's heart. Let this be the game that compels the city to forgive Jack Zduriencik for trading their favorite closer. It's one thing to talk about a player's terrific defense, but it never really sinks in until you see it in action, and Gutierrez made as good a play as any I've ever seen a guy make to rob Alexi Casilla of a gapper. Zduriencik knew exactly who he was getting in that trade. As of today, so does everybody else.
- 16 fastballs from Brandon Morrow. That was his game. 16 fastballs, ranging from 94.5 to 98.1. He didn't pull everything together over a span of two nights, but the way he was able to take a deep breath and bounce back after the four-pitch leadoff walk suggests that he was at least temporarily able to conquer whatever insecurities and inconsistencies have been plaguing him. Now that he got the first one down, look for things to smooth out. While he came into the year as a closer, now he's a closer who's closed, and in Morrow's brain, I imagine that makes a world of difference.
Off to spoil another home opener tomorrow night. Continuing with the theme of pointing out people's chins, I think Brett Anderson drew his on with a pencil.