- So if last night's game erased the game before, and tonight's game erased yesterday's, then does that mean we have Thursday back? Franklin!!!
- Home runs don't come much more unlikely than Rob Johnson's off what I can only imagine was a fatigued Kevin Millwood. I could spend hours trying to explain the magnitude to which I didn't in any way see that coming, but I think Wakamatsu's face did it best. I'm guessing Ranger fans feel about as good about this as we do when the M's let Jeff Mathis tee off. Texas lost for a lot of reasons tonight, but none were more visible than letting Rob Johnson take their ace deep.
Jarrod Washburn has improved this year. That much is measurably true. The issue is that he hasn't actually become particularly good, and people need to stop looking at his ERA and getting carried away. All this business over the past week or two regarding his "Flipper" pitch - look, I'm as excited as anyone that Washburn's getting more confident in his breaking stuff, but this isn't some sort of breakthrough. Take away the cute little name and you're left with Washburn embraces, hones revolutionary new 'curving ball'. What's that? Sometimes it takes hitters by surprise? Messes with their timing? That's what curveballs are supposed to do, and what's more is that this isn't even a new pitch; Washburn's been throwing a slow curve for years. Now, it seems to be better this season, and that's terrific, but let's be reasonable.
You know what the statistical difference is between Jarrod Washburn 2008 and Jarrod Washburn 2009? +1.5% swinging strikes and +1.3% strikes. That's good, and it's really helped his walk and strikeout numbers, but it's not like those things alone punch his ticket to stardom. He's pitching better, and getting lucky, and working in front of a wonderful defense. He is not one of those things. He is all of those things. I will happily admit that I feel more confident going into a game with Jarrod Washburn than with someone like Garrett Olson or RRS, but at the end of the day, that doesn't mean anything.
- Ryan Langerhans has played all of nine games in Safeco Field, and already he's become intimately familiar with the walls in left field. In the top of the second he played a carom off the retaining wall behind third base and threw out Marlon Byrd trying for a double, and in the ninth he put himself in perfect position to receive a ball off the top of the fence and almost threw Byrd out again. Side note: after twice getting gunned down on the bases, Byrd must've really, really wanted to make it to second base. I remember one time at school I was waiting outside for a cab in the wind, and it was really cold and annoying, and after about ten minutes of taking a beating I started to yell at it. Then the wind stopped and I was contented and smug. "Fuck you, wind!" "Get fucked, wind!" I imagine that's how Byrd felt about the bag at second once he finally got there safe.
- Mark Lowe threw a couple of real good changeups to Josh Hamilton there in the eighth. The change was by far Lowe's best pitch a year ago, but for whatever reason it's gone away in 2009, so it's great to see some signs of his getting it back. He's going to need that pitch if he wants to have a good career.
- Aardsma looked as good as ever. Struck out Hank Blalock on a 90mph split and later taught Nelson Cruz a little something about the high fastball. If anyone was concerned about possible lingering after-effects from the Baltimore meltdown, you can stow those away.
- Jack Hannahan hit a rope of a double, saw 17 pitches in three plate appearances, and made a couple nifty defensive plays, including picking a short-hop off the bat of Andruw Jones to lead off the ninth. Short-hops always look so simple until you actually have to field one yourself, at which point most people just put the glove somewhere and hope for the best. It's always impressive, then, to watch a big leaguer who knows where the ball is going to go.