Pitching is a game of adjustments, especially when a hurler doesn’t have overwhelming stuff to compensate for mistakes involving location.
That’s something that Shaun Marcum has known well throughout his career as a starter, and he has succeeded in the bigs despite not having a fastball above 90 mph. Still, coming off a season shortened by arm injury and then pitching poorly after his return, there were questions going into his first Spring Training with the New York Mets as to how he would respond.
The righty didn’t exactly alleviate those questions by going out and getting hit to a tune of three runs on four hits and a homer in his spring debut.
But, this is the time to work on stuff and make adjustments, after all, and that’s exactly what Marcum did in his third outing on Monday. Taking on Jaime Garcia and the St. Louis Cardinals, the crafty veteran showed what a little bit of location can do for a guy throwing in the upper 80s, allowing just a single hit through 3.2 innings, while striking out a pair.
Marcum started his outing by setting down his first five batters before giving up a two-out ground rule double to Shane Robinson, and like he did during most his time on the mound, used the ground ball to get himself out of trouble.
That’s something that will be key for Marcum going forward, if he is to succeed at his goal of being a more efficient pitcher in 2013 while his velocity continues to slow little by little. The 31-year old had not been what you’d call a groundballer throughout his career, posting a 0.86 GB/FB ratio over the last two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers.
If he can keep putting up 6-2 GO-AO ratios in starts, though, perhaps the right-hander has found a couple of new tricks and adjustments to add to his repertoire yet.