Today’s game was an absolutely atrocious one – there’s no doubt about that, but there was one encouraging thing to come from it, and that’s Ryan Rowland-Smith’s performance. It’s probably going to be lost in the fact that we lost 11-2, but it was easily his best start of the year, and it came against a solid Angels lineup, albeit one that’s missing Kendry Morales.
His biggest problem this year has been command, and more specifically, falling behind hitters and being forced to pump fastballs. Tonight, in 86 pitches, he threw 56 of them for strikes, 14 sliders, 12 changeups, and 6 curves. He also recorded 5 swinging strikes and struck out 3 hitters (Maicer Izturis, Bobby Wilson, and Bobby Abreu). Yeah, he did walk 3 in just 5 innings, but it was pretty clear that HP umpire Alfonzo Marquez was squeezing him. Here are the Abreu and Rivera walks, respectively:
Not only were 2 of the 3 walks questionable, but when you factor in the tight strike zone, you can probably bump his strike percentage up close to 70. He’s also struggled with getting hit hard this year (which certainly stems back to command issues), but it’s worth pointing out that he only gave up 3 line drives tonight.
It wasn’t a perfect outing, but it was clearly an improvement over the Hyphen we’ve been subject to watching so far in 2010. Since Snell has been bad and Erik Bedard still looks to be a long way away from returning, it’d be really nice if RRS could get back to 2009 form, as this team’s really gonna need him.