- Brian Bannister came in having missed ten bats over 290 pitches. Today he missed 14 over 105. One of the league's top contact offenses found a way to swing and miss 14 times against Brian flipping Bannister. Considering we missed but once against Sidney Ponson yesterday afternoon, this was a whole new way to not score. Zduriencik and the rest of the management aren't stupid. They have to know we need a left-handed bat. With luck, Rob Johnson will be Yelping about Tacoma-area restaurants in no time.
- Jarrod Washburn, meanwhile, did it again, walking none and fanning five over seven strong innings. He even kept 13 of 21 balls in play on the ground for good measure. His 17.5% strikeout rate is the highest it's ever been. The man is pitching his ass off. Arguably the biggest key to his success to far has been his performance against lefties; they've hit just .146 against him in 41 at bats, with a 14/0 K/BB. Righties have posed a bit of a problem, but when you're dominating same-handed hitters like that, you usually don't find yourself in too many jams. Regardless of whether or not any element of his performance is sustainable, we couldn't have asked any more of Washburn over his first six starts, and his pitching like this improves our odds of either staying competitive or getting something shiny in return for him this summer.
- Ronny Cedeno's day on the field: 0-3, three swinging strikeouts, a crippling error, and a sitting in favor of Yuniesky Betancourt in a big spot in the ninth. It's never a good sign when the guy you're replacing because he's been an off-the-charts nightmare replaces you with the game on the line. The team's smart enough not to judge Cedeno by his first appearance in two weeks, but this was a terrible way for him to try and earn a bigger share of the playing time. He didn't look the least bit ready.
- By the way, Yuni didn't just draw a walk - he walked on six pitches after falling behind 0-2 on a pair of fouls against one of the best relievers in baseball. At this point you could tell me you watched a glowing bald eagle poop a treasure chest onto the hood of your car and I'd just ask "where does it lead?"
- Rob Johnson is now OPS'ing .524 after 54 at bats. The difference between his slump and Adrian Beltre's is that I actually have confidence that Beltre will work his way out of it. Call up Jeff Clement. Call him up! Right now! Even if he only repeats what he did last year, over 300 PAs that's still a 14-run improvement at the plate over what Johnson's doing. Rob Johnson sucks, and just because most of the rest of the lineup is sucking as well doesn't mean he deserves the same chance to break out of it. Because guess what? He won't.
- Wladimir Balentien on the season (estimated): 70% ZSwing%, 24% OSwing%, 77% contact. Wladimir Balentien a year ago: 65% ZSwing%, 31% OSwing, 70% contact. He's not going to keep up his current .371 BABIP, and as such he's not as good as his batting line would suggest, but based on the numbers so far it would appear that his plate discipline has taken a real substantial step forward. And as you can imagine, that's potentially excellent news for a team that could use a little more offense. I wouldn't mind if Endy barely saw any lefties for the rest of the season. In the right role, Wlad can be useful, and the right role is there for the taking.