Why Rowland-Smith says Mariners need to ‘keep rolling’ with Brash

May 16, 2023, 1:44 PM

Seattle Mariners Matt Brash...

Scott Servais takes Matt Brash of the Seattle Mariners out of the game on May 5, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After entering the season with very high expectations, Seattle Mariners reliever Matt Brash has had an interesting start to 2023, to say the least.

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With Andres Munoz sidelined with a shoulder injury, Brash has been thrust into a massive role for the Mariners as a high-leverage arn. He’s also been used a lot this year, having pitched an MLB-high 22 games so far.

While Brash is striking out 17 batters per nine and has decreased his walks per nine from 5.9 in 2022 to 4.0 in 2023, his hits per nine is up to 10.5, his WHIP is at 1.611 and his ERA is 5.00.

Brash’s last outing was a tough one as he faced four batters and walked two of them and hit another, resulting in a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

So what should the Mariners do with Brash? Former MLB pitcher and current Mariners analyst Ryan Rowland-Smith shared his insight with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Monday.

“I think you have to kind of stick with him … I think with Matt Brash, people have to remember that he’s never had this kind of workload before,” he said. “I mean, he’s pitched in 22 games already and that’s top of the charts for any any reliever. He hasn’t done this before. He really hasn’t.”

“I think with Matt Brash, there is some inconsistency there. I think when you when you look at him and what he brings to the table (with his) swing-and-miss stuff – and I know everyone kind of gets sick of that when he’s walking in runs and everything else, so you’re sick of hearing that – but this is all part of developing a pitcher on the job,” Rowland-Smith continued. “… So it takes just a little bit.”

Some have thought that Brash should be demoted to the minor leagues in order to get his command right, but Rowland-Smith doesn’t think that’s the right call.

“I’ve been there before where all of a sudden you start putting numbers up and they start just calling on you, and you don’t get that in Double-A and Triple-A,” he said. “There’s no way to prepare for that because you’re just simply not going to roll out someone back-to-back-to-back days or anything like that. It’s more about development.

“So there is some growing pains there. I think that once he figures out how to manage his workload a little bit better and slow the game down as tough as that is with the pitch clock, he’s going to be fine. But I think you have to keep rolling with him in these situations.”

Rowland-Smith also thinks that it being relatively early in the season is a factor to consider, too.

“You’d rather him have these moments now early in the season, because like I said, he is going to be a priority in that bullpen,” he said. “Have these moments now, get used to the workload, the frequency of when you’re going to pitch in these big situations so when you’re talking August and September, you are going to know how to manage some of these expectations and manage some of the workloads and manage how you recover … I think these are growing pains and you’ve got to kind of roll with it a little bit.”

Listen to the full discussion with Rowland-Smith at this link or in the player below.

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