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September 21, 2007 at 9:32 PM

Washburn, Guillen come through; audio clips

Now that’s what the M’s need more of from Jarrod Washburn. A solid seven innings tonight as he scatters five hits in a 6-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Bellevue — I mean, Anaheim. A disappointed crowd here has to wait another day at least before a division title is celebrated.
Washburn was asked all about beating his former Angels team by reporters from around this area. Here’s what he said.
Here’s my favorite quote of his, which came when he was asked by a Seattle scribe what it felt like to win the World Series in 2002. (You can hear the audio in Washburn’s other clip, lower down on the page).
“Imagine getting to do the one thing you want to do more than anything in your life,” Washburn said. “That’s how it feels. There’s not a better feeling. Compare it up there with having a baby, It’s that good a feeling.”
I asked him if it was an addictive feeling. One that makes him keep coming back for more.
“It keeps you hungry,” Washburn said. “You remember how good it felt. And what you actually play this game for. That’s why I play it. I play it top get into the post season and win. Get another ring.”
You know how that happens? Have Washburn pitch the way he did tonight more often. Sounds simple, but it’s not. But it’s fair to say this team expected more outings like this from Washburn when it signed him to that four-year deal. I expected more from him earlier this season. No, he hasn’t pitched poorly enough to lose nine of 10, or win just twice since July 4. But he also hasn’t done this often enough. It was just his eighth outing of at least seven innings in 31 starts. The team needs him at about double that total.
Do that and he’s a 15-game winner. Right now, he’s a 10-game winner and the team needs more. When Jeff Weaver leaves, Washburn and Miguel Batista will be the veteran leaders of this rotation. There isn’t some huge cavalry about to come riding in to the rescue. We saw tonight what Washburn is capable of when he hits his spots and keeps his pitch-counts down the first few innings. He threw only 95 pitches through seven innings. With a healthy bullpen, it gets him the “W” almost every time.
Sounds easy, right? Not always. A lack of run support can get in the way. So can red-hot hitting teams. Washburn knows he hasn’t pitched badly enough to lose so many games. Deserved a much better fate at times. Not so much at others. It’s been a mixed bag for him in Seattle thus far.
“It grinds on you a little bit,” he said of the games that got away. “Bottom line, at the end of the day, you lose you lose. I hate losing. It doesn’t matter if I pitch good and lose or pitch bad and lose.”
I asked him whether there’s a way to improve the likelihood of hitting his spots as well as he did tonight. Whether there are things he can do between starts to ensure greater success.
Here’s what he said.
“It’s usually a mechanical thing that takes a slight adjustment between starts,” he said of attaining that control more regularly. “But this late in the season, I don’t like throwing much between starts. I’d rather save it for when it means something.”
Indeed, it doesn’t mean much now.
It will next year. Again, it bears repeating. Washburn is here for two more years. The team can scour the pitching market for free-agents or try to swing a blockbuster deal. But things will go a lot easier on the club if Washburn can maintain that consistency all season.
With Batista, he’s going to be 37 in 2008. He is what he is. It’s transformed into a 14-win season this year with a little more luck and six-inning consistency than Washburn has had. But it’s not going to change all that much. With Washburn, there is room for more.
Big night for Jose Guillen, hitting a home run, doubling and scoring the only run his team would need on a three-hit night. Funny how Guillen always seems to come up big on nights Washburn does the same.
John McLaren had a special visitor as he watched the game in the manager’s office. Former M’s second baseman Bret Boone stopped by around the eighth inning and chatted with McLaren until after the game.
Here’s what McLaren had to say about Washburn and Guillen.
“You could tell he was in complete control tonight,” McLaren said of Washburn. “The results are pretty good. I mean, they were real good. That’s as good as you can pitch.”
The M’s were in complete control as well. Hasn’t happened too often lately.



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