=== Coin of the Realm, Dept. ===
The 101-loss Mariners threw the 2nd-most fastballs among 30 ML teams in 2010. Actually, both the Mariners and the Braves threw 63.6% fastballs, but the Braves won on goal differential.
This despite the fact that the Mariners and Indians struck out vastly fewer batters than the other 28 ML teams. You're talking about Charlie Brown trying to pitch like Kevin Brown.
And that tragic strikeout rate was despite (1) 250 innings from Felix and (2) 103 innings from Cliff Lee! What did everybody else do?!
We are definitely sympathetic to the philosophy that the 'right' way to pitch, is to pitch off the fastball.
We respect this org belief, within limits, and take it seriously. There are all kinds of benefits to pitching off the fastball -- starting with the effect it has on the development of a young pitcher.
We're well aware that by the time an Ismael Valdes is throwing slop change-curves to the first batter of the game, it's because he's trying to hang on to the game by his fingernails. You hate to see a young pitcher admit defeat right out of AAA. We get that.
But when the Mariners are throwing far more fastballs than other MLB teams, we're not talking about a Coin Of The Realm issue. We are talking about an organizational obsession.
=== Here It Is Baby, Hit It (And They Did) ===
The Mariners had the worst guys in the world to throw 70% fastballs, and they stood out there and threw them all the way to a 101-loss season.
Nobody was a worse poster child for this than was Doug Fister. Early in the first half, the M's catchers fell madly in love with a move-the-ball-around-the-zone game that Fister happily allowed them to play.
But he threw that 67% fastball ratio -- more than Scherzer, Bonderman, or Jimenez. Fister was one of only 10 starters in the majors to throw over 65% fastballs, and the other guys (Kershaw, Burnett, Masterson etc) had strikeouts or groundouts or both.
But Fister wasn't the only guy. Luke French, of all people, threw 66.5% fastballs (with 58% being an ML-average mix). His xFIP was 5.71 with that mix. He's got a great hook, and nothing else, and here he is living off his terrible fastball.
Ian Snell, when he was here, threw a gas-rich mix into the carburetor, gave them a blizzard of "here it is hit it" knee-high heaters, game after game. He walked as many men as he struck out, and he was 0-5, 6.41 before they pulled the plug.