Things kind of came unglued there in the seventh when he made a couple mistakes, but for six innings, Ryan Rowland-Smith was everything we wanted him to be. He had his normal starting velocity, he had all of his offspeed stuff working, and save for a handful of pitches that got away from him, he had his command. Though he wasn't missing a lot of bats, that's not his M.O.; RRS is a contact pitcher, and the fact that he retired 14 consecutive hitters over one stretch should tell you something about the quality of that contact for much of the game.
The problem, of course, is that contact pitchers have very little margin for error, and tonight we saw the whole spectrum. Early on, the Indians hit a few pitches hard. Then nothing for innings at a time. Then they went back to smacking the ball. On the one hand it's a shame the seventh had to go and spoil Ryan's outing, but on the other, an inning like that is always lurking just beneath the surface, and the fact that RRS was good for six innings is no more or less important than the fact that he later got beat by the long ball. These are just the ups and downs of his sort of pitcher type. Granted, the seventh kind of took that to the extreme, but still.
I don't want to focus too much on the runs allowed, though, because the most important thing to take away from RRS' start tonight is that he made it back, looked himself, and tossed seven innings. I really liked the look of his curve - he was getting some really sharp break and using it as a weapon against righties - and one changeup in particular stood out, the one he threw to Victor Martinez for a strikeout in the sixth. Though his fastball's not great, having three offspeed pitches he can throw for strikes allows him to keep hitters from sitting on it. That's a big help. In a way, it's the difference between him and Garrett Olson.
Welcome back to the bigs, RRS. A guy like him is never going to blow anyone away or dominate over multiple innings, but that's not what he's expected to do, and if he can turn in a bunch of starts like tonight's, then he'll be of good value to this team going forward. Kick some ass, Ryan.
I understand that it was his bobblehead night, but still, I was blown away by the fact that Safeco gave Franklin Gutierrez a standing ovation before his first at bat. It's not that he didn't deserve one; it's that I never expected him to get one. Not from us. It's great to see Mariner fans becoming more invested in the team and more aware of what makes it good. Alternatively they might all just really hate Wladimir Balentien.
Jose Lopez' BABIP on July 14th: .249 Jose Lopez's BABIP since: .387
That didn't take long. The fact that Lopez has carried over his offensive success from 2008 should probably be a bigger story than it is, because there was a lot of skepticism over the winter.
A friend of a friend recently got a new haircut. Apparently she went in to the hairdresser and kept asking her to cut it shorter and shorter until the lady refused to cut anymore. The friend of a friend then went home and proudly showed off her follicular equivalent of an irritated cockatiel to anyone who would listen. Now, that sounds bad enough on its own, but compounding the problem is that friends aren't honest about things like this. Nobody likes this new haircut, but at the same time nobody has the nerve to be straight with this girl to her face, so since coming home she's received nothing but a steady stream of compliments.
When people change their appearance, they want to know how they look. They want an honest assessment more than a pleasing lie, because no one wants to walk around looking uglier on purpose. Unfortunately not even the closest friends are aware of this, so generally speaking even a change for the worse will be met with falsely positive reviews. It is with that in mind that I will do Miguel Batista a favor.
No, Miguel. Absolutely not. You have literally never looked worse.