What We Learned In Week Nine

We’re past the one-third marker of the season, and this season continues to be an interesting one. The Dodgers just won’t lose, the Rangers haven’t gone away, and the AL East looks like the best division of all time. What did we learn last week?

Zack Greinke is human.

For his first 11 starts of the season, Greinke’s numbers looked like something out of a video game set to easy mode. He was just toying with hitters, and every game was a potential shutout. Finally, for the first time this year, he looked human this week, giving up five runs in five innings in a loss to the Blue Jays. Toronto took him deep twice, accounting for the only two home runs he’s given up this year. Have no fear, though – even after a bad start, his FIP stands at 1.81 for the year.

The A’s may finally have a rotation.

After cycling through pitchers all year, the young hurlers currently in the Oakland rotation want to stay put. Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Josh Outman, Dallas Braden, and Vin Mazzaro combined to throw 46 innings last week, giving up 35 hits and walking just seven batters while striking out 26 guys. They allowed just eight runs between them, for a nifty 1.56 runs allowed per nine innings. They obviously won’t keep pitching that well, but Oakland built their preseason hopes on a young pitching staff developing quickly, and they had to enjoy this week’s performance.

Jarrod Washburn continues to shine.

Early in the season, my buddy Jonah Keri wrote a piece claiming that Washburn might be this season’s Cliff Lee, pointing to a greatly improved outfield defense that would help him have a significantly better year than many expected. So far, he looks like a genius, as Washburn continued to roll last week and is having the best season of his career. After two more excellent starts, his season ERA stands at 3.07, and while he’s gotten help from Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro Suzuki, and Endy Chavez, he’s also just pitching really well – his FIP stands at 3.39. He’s added a two-seam fastball that is destroying left-handers (LHBs are 11 for 78 with 3 walks and 26 strikeouts against him this year), and by dominating same-handed hitters, he’s doing a halfway-decent Cliff Lee impersonation.

The Royals offense is not good.

Take away Brayan Pena, who went 2 for 5, and the best wOBA the Royals got from one of their hitters last week was .273, courtesy of Miguel Olivo. .214/.214/.429 made him their hitting star. That’s rough. You name a Royals regular, and they haven’t hit much lately. Kansas City, as a team, posted a .225 wOBA last week. It’s no wonder they scored a whopping 13 runs while basically falling out of the AL Central race. Greinke gives them a reason for hope, but Dayton Moore has a lot of work to do fixing that group of position players.

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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

9 Responses to “What We Learned In Week Nine”

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  1. Kevin S. says:

    but Dayton Moore has a lot of work to do fixing that group of position players.

    At this point, is Dayton Moore the guy who should be doing the fixing, or is it time to look for a new GM. He’s had a whole bunch of epic fail going since he got there.

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    • KingKirkpatrick says:

      Dayton Moore definitely hasn’t done well with the offense…but the pitching was the worst in the league when he got here too..and he’s done pretty well in that regard at both the major and minor league levels. He’s made bad decisions, but he’s also done a lot of things right too. Taking a quick look at the rosters he inherited (including a woefully damaged minor league system) I think it enough to show that he’s made progress. We’ve gone from a complete joke in every regard to a mediocre franchise, but improving. He definitely needs to get it together when he comes to offense though. We’ll see how his drafts pan out in a couple years.

      Maybe when Gordon gets back, maybe him and Butler can start producing like they should be..that would be a big boost. We’ll see. I’ll stick with my 79 win prediction..they can’t stay in THIS bad of an offensive slump forever, and the pitching is still decent.

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      • Tim A. says:

        While I agree that Dayton Moore has made some extremely questionable moves that the Major League level… ***cough Jacobs***… but I think that we can not fully evaluate he tenure just yet. Dayton Moore’s number one job for baseball ops should be and has been to build an established farm system. In the two years he has been here, I feel that this goal is being accomplished(although it is still a work in progress)

        I do feel that the first year player draft tomorrow will go a long way in determining Moore’s tenure as a success or failure.

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  2. MFG says:

    I’d love to get a breakdown on Billy Butler’s situation. What does the future hold for him?

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  3. JLP says:

    Careful, Dave. You’re treading potentially horrendous waters when you bring up the Royals around here.

    Here’s to Jarrod Washburn continuing his quality year in the hopes that Jack Z. can move him for something good.

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  4. Evan says:

    Washburn’s tRA*, though, is 4.98. That FIP isn’t sustainable.

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    • Teej says:

      It’s not sustainable, but he’s legitimately pitching better than he ever has as a Mariner.

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  5. CH says:

    I propose that we let Kila Ka’aihue become the regular DH, and maybe give him a shot at the whole GM thing too.

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  6. Tom Au says:

    “The As may finally have a rotation.” They almost always do; that’s their strength.

    But this won’t be their year because of lack of hitting.

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