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This Afternoon

Disaster strikes again. A day after allowing 15 runs on 21 hits to the Cubs, Mariner pitchers allowed 17 runs on 20 hits to the Padres, with Scott Atchison (1.2 IP, 8 R) sucking the most. Seattle falls to 0-2-1 in meaningless baseball games. But who's keeping track?

Something that's been proven time and time again is that, given a list of words (or letters, or numbers, or whatever), a person is most likely to remember those that come either near the beginning or towards the end, with all the stuff in the middle sort of blending into an incomprehensible haze. Meaning that, if I were to read to you the following (limited) list of neologisms coined by The Simpsons:

Flupid Bloroplope
Chester A. Arthritis
Assal Horizontology'd be far more likely to remember "Avoision" or "Assal Horizontology" than you would, say, "Cromulent". That's just the way the mind works.

The point of all this is that I'm a little troubled by how Matt Thornton has been one of the few competent bubble pitchers on the staff in the early going. We don't need guys like Atchison blowing up while Thornton is throwing scoreless innings, not right now, because that'll only increase the odds of Thornton making the roster, and thus decrease the odds of my surviving the month. We already have a manager of questionable aptitude; the last thing we need is for him to start basing his opinions on misleading information taken from stupid (yes, stupid, not small) sample sizes. C'mon, Matt, it's your time to blow. Where's Appier and Burba's lousy veteran advice when you need it?

Just because the Mariners aren't in midseason form (or are they?) doesn't mean Ron Fairly isn't already firing on all cylinders. For example, during the sixth inning, he decided to thusly summarize the dialogue from a recent lunch with Kevin Calabro:

Kevin said something I thought was interesting - a good way to evaluate young pitchers is by watching the hitters. How often do they swing and miss the ball?

He also went to some length in describing a hole-in-one he hit on a nearby golf course. Look forward to hearing this story another 23523497823 times over the course of the season. The good news is that, if you weren't listening today, it'll seem fresh to you next time.

One of the things we've heard pretty often about Yorman Bazardo is how his strikeout and hit rates don't match his good (great?) stuff. Now, I can't speak with any authority on the subject, but he certainly isn't getting any help from the fact that he doesn't hide the ball very well, and that he pitches with a pretty short stride. The second thing is probably the main contributor - with a short stride, you force your shoulder back and you release the ball further away from the plate than you would with better extension. A 93mph fastball is a 93mph fastball, but if one guy is throwing it from 56 feet away and another guy is throwing it from 57, they look like two different pitches. In talking to Tom House, he told me that 1 foot~3mph, and that's significant, because perceived velocity is way more important than actual velocity, and 3mph can make a world of difference. So, while Bazardo may have real good stuff, his mechanics are holding him back. Chalk me up as someone who'd be real excited to what'd happen if he extended his stride.

Jesse Foppert pitched well for two innings today, but without any reports on his velocity, that hardly means anything. Jarrod Washburn makes his debut tomorrow, while Francisco Cruceta, Renee Cortez, and Jeff Heaverlo are scheduled to relieve him.