It seems to me like Rafael Chavez is really coming into his own with the M's now.
The single biggest thing that seems to be changing is the large numbers of pitchers that are using the two-seam fastball more.
Today, it is Gil Meche:
But I can't even remember all the pitchers who are using this pitch a lot more. I remember hearing Joel Pineiro talking about it, and I know that Clint Nageotte has started throwing the pitch a lot more. With Nageotte, this has been part of a marked change in his overall approach, as he has switched from being a K pitcher to more of a sinker/slider guy with less velocity. His ability to induce groundballs is really promising, especially if he can refine his other pitches as well.
This is an interesting development.
I wonder what Jeff and others who know more about pitching think about this.
It is nice to see Chavez jump headfirst into the job though. With the pitching such a mess over the last two years, and with most of the guys who struggled the most still with the team, shaking things is a good thing.
Hopefully, Chavez will become more involved in the decision making about player acquisitions in the future. It would be nice to see the M's get some more groundball pitchers and take better advantage of their great infield defense.