Do the Mariners have a pitching problem?
Larry Stone looks at the previous week’s pitching stats and concludes that the arms have actually performed relatively well.
Stone admits that injuries are a serious concern, but cites some traditional performance numbers like ERA to make his case. Interesting to see WHIP listed as an indicator for the “stat-geeky.”
But one part of the article, unrelated to its main premise, actually shocked me.
Now the team is trying to figure out what to make of [Gil Meche’s] elbow problems, which he says have been contributory to his erratic start Ã¢â‚¬â€ twice unable to make it through five innings, and a 7.88 ERA.
While pitching coach Bryan Price said the Mariners will “honor” the fact he has tenderness, it is clear they believe he needs to learn to pitch through such discomfort.
“I’d hate for anybody to have to go through the year with any type of a chronic problem, soreness,” Price said. “Even if it wasn’t career-threatening, it’s still tedious, and it works people over mentally. You feel like you’re not going out there with your best stuff.
“But experienced pitchers understand they’re not going to go out there every time with their best stuff, and they still have to compete and give us a chance to win.”
There is a difference between ‘not going out with your best stuff’ and having an injury, though certainly the latter can lead to the former. After all the arm trouble Meche has had, I can’t believe they are still questioning his toughness in public like this.
When Meche told them he was hurt in 2001, they effectively told him to rub some dirt on it, suck it up, and so on. By the time the doctor found his rotator cuff problem, he was actually relieved that he had an injury, so he knew he wasn’t crazy.
I’m not a doctor, and even if I was, I haven’t examined Meche’s arm, so I don’t know whether there is anything structurally wrong with his elbow or not. But calling a guy out like that — especially after you’ve sniffed at his concerns once, with disastrous results — just seems to me uncalled for.