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The M’s 8-Man Rotation Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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While it hasn’t been the only problem this season, it has been a consistent one, and the Mariners have had one of the most bizarre rotations of the 2008 season. With Rowland-Smith being sent down to get his starting legs stretched, Batista closing and starting in the same week, and Bedard unable to look competent enough to find a new home before the 31st, the M’s are up to their armpits in problems. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers.

Starters in 2008:

Silva, surprisingly, has 21 starts to lead the team. He also leads the team in losses (12) which may be more a matter of opportunity than performance… although, maybe his performance just sucks. He did manage to get himself a midseason Cy Yuk award from ESPN’s Jayson Stark (why does he spell his name with that insufferable “y”?), so that’s something, I suppose. Here’s the rest of his line: 121.2 IP, 5.62 ERA, 78 R, 158 Hits, 53 K’s.. Ouch.

Reliable ol’ Felix is third in starts with 18, but second in innings pitched at 119. His win-loss total may not say much (7-6), but his ERA speaks wonders at 2.95. Oh, and he’s got 109 k’s to boot. Ironic that the one season they don’t think he can handle the “ace” title, he actually performs like one.

Washburn hasn’t quite… well, ever shown any of the skill he seemed to possess when a member of the perenially dominant Angels, but he hasn’t exactly dragged the club down either. He’s given the M’s a consistent near 200 innings, an ERA under 5 (which tops off most starters the last few years for this organization) and a strikeout every other inning. This year he’s put up the same ol’ numbers, but I personally think he’s been one of the most reliable (on average) starters the M’s have seen in years. Here’s his line for ’08: 4-9, 4.79 ERA, 109 IP, and 65 k’s in 19 starts.

Mr. Bedard, despite his need to be hated by local media, has actually performed pretty well, injuries aside. He actually managed to squeeze in 15 starts between whining fits and muscle pains and has a pretty consistent line: 81 IP, 3.67 ERA, 38 R, 70 Hits, 72 k’s. Oh, and check out this Oriole blog if you want some insight into why he’s such an ass.

Batista‘s stats speak for themselves. I’m too lazy to completely separate his starting stats from his total, but trust me, it’s not looking good. In 16 starts for the M’s, he’s pitched 71 innings and given up 57, yes, 57 runs. Does a 7.22 starting ERA say anything? Just that he obviously buddied up with Jeff Weaver a little too much last season. I think my favorite part of the saga of Miguel is that he actually seems to be getting worse.

Dickey is finally getting some national attention thanks to a great article on knuckleballers by Sean McAdam of ESPN.com, and looking at his performance so far, he deserves any of those accolades and more. Certainly he struggled tonight in his start against the Sox, and his starting stats may not line up with his overall numbers (mainly because he had a couple phenomenal bail out sessions for some of our less talented staff), but he’s still got some good numbers. In 8 starts (which, again, do not include some 5 or more inning, scoreless relief work stints), Robert Alan has a 5.15 ERA, with 25 runs and 22 k’s in 43.2 IP. Not exactly power numbers, no, but in his last 5 starts, including tonight, his line looks a little different: 2.23 ERA with only 8 runs in just over 32 innings. Dickey, if the M’s are smart enough to hold on to him, could be useful for years to come. Not bad for a guy with no UCL (seriously) and whose 2006 major league debut, where he gave up 6 homers in 3.1 IP, had seemingly kicked his big league dreams to the curb.

I’m not even sure I can consider Rowland-Smith‘s starts as “starts,” because they were strictly a start-by-commitee stop-gap when the M’s realized they were out of pitchers. Evidently he’s been sent down to AAA to push himself out a few extra innings, which could work out for everyone as he has moments of true starting dominance (although he lacks a true “out” pitch). In his 2 “starts” for the M’s, here’s how he fared: 8.2 innings, 4 ER, 3 k’s… 4 walks… His inability to throw even his standard fare across the plate has me wondering just how he expects to get through the lineup more than twice, especially with some of these AL West clubs that will sit on pitches. Look for 5 inning starts from him that end with the bases loaded.

And yes, even Cha Seung Baek got a start before the M’s cut him loose. He struggled mightily for 4.1 innings, giving up 4 runs with a couple k’s. And how has he been since the M’s traded him away? In 8 starts for the Padres, he’s got a 4.30 ERA in 46 innings with 32 k’s. Not too shabby, if you ask me. Especially considering he’s 1-1 with a 2.11 ERA and 13 k’s this month… oh, and a homerun, too. One more fish that got away… funny, considering we’re the MARINERS.

So what now? What’s our rotation going to look like next year? Not too shabby, surprisingly. The Mariners pretty much sold their soul (and dropped some dandy pitchers) the last couple years, but we should be okay. Wash is a wash and will be dropped, along with Batista, but I’m not certain either will be missed (although Washburn’s 2007 M’s Commerical still kills me).

Bedard won’t be traded before the deadline, or likely even in the offseason, as any GM worth his salt would want to make that decision himself before he took the job. I doubt he will go anywhere until we straighten out the GM and coaching situation. And of course Felix will still be around, as will Silva, who, believe it or not, is eating up the innings we asked him to… He’s just giving up too many runs is all. You toss in a possible Morrow or Rowland-Smith starter next year and R.A. Dickey’s continued growth and you’ve got your starting five all sewn up!

Go M’s!

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