We are 9.25% through the 2008 season, which is an incredibly small sample size, but still one thing sticks out in 2008 from 2007; that being the patience being displayed at the plate by the Mariner hitters. In 2007, the Mariners ranked last in the American League in both pitches seen per plate appearance (3.63) and walks drawn (389). 15 games into 2008 and the Mariners are seeing 3.83 pitches per PA, a dramatic improvement and are drawing walks at a much improved pace, 60 in 15 games.
X-axis = number of walks in game, Y-axis = % of games
As you can see even in the early going the curve has shifted considerably to the right. In fact, the Mariners of 2007 drew an average of 2.4 walks per game. With 15 games in the book (including today's), the 2008 version is sprinting ahead at a nifty 4 walk per game pace which is clear from the astoundingly perfectly even distribution.
It's still a long ways from being a meaningful sample size, but nonetheless it is a very encouraging sign. We never had any concerns about the pitching staff's talent, just its durability (which has proven prophetic so far), but we did have significant concern over the offense's ability to score runs and a large part of that was tied to the impatience displayed in 2007. If the Mariners have actually adopted such a radical new philosophy so as to continue anywhere near this four walk per game pace, well then, we're in for quite a good ride with the offense.
Pray for this to continue. And for Putz and Bedard to return. And for Bonds.