For perspective on that headline, you might want to read at least some of this diary I wrote in June of 2006 when Tom Gorzelanny also struck 10 Red Wings.
Basically, he threw harder then, and harder more often. I found my game chart from that 2006 game, and first of all, he threw 94mph twice even though in that diary I wrote that he topped out at 93. But here are some contrasts, and you can make up your own mind about their meaning:
August 10, 2008 -- 90
June 14, 2006 -- 100
Pitches 90mph or faster:
2008 -- 9, topping out at 92. 90 total pitches thrown.
2006 -- 42, topping out at 94. 100 total pitches thrown.
2008 -- 33
2006 -- 17
2008 -- 16
2006 -- 5
*Today, those were pretty clearly fastballs, 10 coming in the first two innings. In 2006, 3 of the 5 were breaking balls. In 2006 he sat at 91-92 and his offspeed stuff was 78-79, he was consistently in these ranges. In 2008, he was 88-89 with his fastball, 80-82 with his breaking stuff. In addition to the lost velocity, I don't think the narrowing of the gap between his pitch types is a good thing at all.
Still, the raw numbers would seem to say he was roughly equally dominant in both games. Similar to the defense discussions going on about Nate McLouth, I have to rely on my eyes. The gun could have been off either night. Or it could be a different gun entirely. In the interest of full disclosure, it only intermittently gave readings in the 8th inning. But I believe in velocity and from my experience I trust the Frontier Field gun.
All I can say is he wowed me in 2006. He just pounded fastballs at 92, 92, 92. Today, 88, 89, and occasionally mixing in some Morrisesque 85's. Maybe it was the expectation of (hopefully) seeing 2006 form again makes this just slightly disappointing. Maybe it was the knowledge that he struggled this year, and that Tracy misused him (I hate the term abuse in this context, but feel free to use it), that did bias me as I kept looking at the pitch speeds. Maybe it was just watching the game because there's also this:
2008 -- 5 hits, 4 OF flyouts.
2006 -- 2 hits, 2 outfield flyouts, one I wrote as "soft liner".
So all I can say is it felt different, and not in a good way. The Pirates can use a guy who can pitch, but enthusiasm from last year's 14-win season probably ought to be tempered, at least for rest of this season. I doubt he can rediscover top form this year. Maybe with another offseason of rest.
I don't want to waste a lot of time on Marino Salas. He was OK. Strangely, he threw 93 warming up, but never topped 91 in the game. And it wasn't a fluke. When he entered the game and warmed up the first time, I was jacked. He looked angry and he was bringing it. Then a batter came up and he really looked like he backed off. It was weird. After that warmup I was ready to see 95+ and I saw 91. I should know this about Pirates bullpen guys -- when I expect more, I should expect less.
Finally, the player that has really stood out so far for me is Mr. Excitement. I noted the other night his miscommunication with Andrew McCutchen (though Cutch was the CF). He was also picked off that game, badly. He was doubled off 2B Saturday night. Today he lost a ball in the sun, I think. It was a high fly that he was camped under and didn't even touch. Strangely, this is marked as the 3-run "double on a fly ball to CF Andrew McCutchen" in the game recap. Trust me, McCutchen was not involved at all in the play, but he picked the ball up so that's how it was scored. And on a later adventure that Morgan caught, a guy a few rows back said, "That left fielder doesn't know what the hell he's doing." Day game tomorrow too, Mr. E.