|SEA||RH M. Batista||193.0||4.29||101||6.20||3.96||1.56||0.84||.773||1.52||1.12||16.91|
|RAYS||RH E. Jackson||161.0||5.76||78||7.16||4.92||1.45||1.06||.837||1.76||1.27||18.43|
RH Miguel Batista, Seattle-In looking over Batista's bio pages on the Internets prior to today's game, I noticed something. Batista is 37 years old. I always thought Batista was far younger; he certainly seemed very young the first time I saw him with the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series. Regardless, when you look over Batista's track record, you see a long career full of generally average results. Batista was never flashy enough to garner much attention over the course of his career, but he has proven to be a versatile and steady pitcher over the years. In his long career, Batista has been a starting pitcher on a World Championship team, a 30-save closer, an all-purpose relief pitcher, and now he is back to being a starting pitcher with Seattle. Batista is probably one of the best bets among AL starters to turn in a mediocre season. In that respect, he is very similar to last night's starter Jarrod Washburn. In fact, the two threw almost the exact same number of innings and pitches per inning for a nearly identical ERA last year. With seven straight seasons of having posted an ERA+ over 100, Batista has proven to be respectable for what he is. His ERA+ exceeded 109 only twice during those seven seasons, but even as he enters into old age, his steady services and proven durability continue to be desired assets.
RH Edwin Jackson, RAYS-It seems like since the Rays acquired Edwin Jackson over two years ago, Mariners GM Bill Bavasi has been linked to trade rumors involving the pride of Neu-ulm. These rumors reached a crescendo this off-season around the Winter Meetings when the talk was of Jackson going to Seattle for 1B Ben Broussard. As it happened, the trade didn't go down and Broussard was traded by Seattle to the Texas Rangers later that off-season. So here we are in April as Jackson prepares to make his second start of the season. Is there any reason to think that Bavasi's interest in Jackson has waned? Probably not, although since an avalanche of injuries has befallen the Rays' rotation, the chances of Jackson being traded are probably smaller due to the lack of flexibility the front office has concerning a replacement. My position on Edwin Jackson is well-known. If we could get a halfway decent deal for the power right-hander, I'd personally take Jackson's luggage to the Mariners' charter plane as it leaves down today and bid bon voyage. Alas, it doesn't appear that will be happening, and the latest injury to Matt Garza probably means that Jackson isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
So with that reality firmly in mind, let's evaluate what we have. We all know the story of Jackson's track record. "Electric stuff". Poor walk rates. High WHIPs. High ERAs. Failure in the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues both over the last four seasons. If I could take back the time I took to harp on Jackson's shortcomings over the last two years, I could probably write my own novel. It isn't that I have anything against Jackson personally; quite the opposite. He seems like a very likable individual who seems to be among the most popular on the team. But I'm just not buying Saturday's start in New York as the beginning of a legitimate turnaround to Jackson's troubled major league career.
There is no doubting the quality of the performance that Jackson turned in at Yankee Stadium: I'll take six innings of one run baseball in the Bronx any day of the week I can get it. The fact of the matter is that Jackson gave the Rays a chance to win by battling and providing stability. His walks were few, his strikeouts were plenty, and it was easy to look at Edwin Jackson circa 2008 as an entirely new model. I hope for his sake, and the team's as well, that it is. Nothing would please me more than to see a good guy such as Jackson find success. However, one of the things constantly MIA in Jackson's volatile 2007 was consistency. He could not string together quality outings consecutively for the vast majority of the season, sans a period in August. If Jackson's start in New York is to mean anything in the grand scheme of things, it needs to be followed up by a similarly satisfying outing. He has the ability, as evidenced by his holding harmless the Yankees' vaunted lineup. Whether that ability will reach fruition is the question, and it is one that needs a satisfactory reply in the affirmative. Otherwise, the Mariners may want to hold that charter for one more passenger.