As Rafael Soriano was busy retiring the likes of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the eighth inning of last night’s game, you may have noticed that his fastball wasn’t buzzing in with it’s usual oomph. The pitch averaged just 90.99 mph last night, down from the 93.0 mph he averaged last season. “I’m not 100% with my fastball,” he told Marc Carig after the game, adding that he doesn’t get all of his velocity back until May. He’s right; he started in the low-90’s before creeping up in the middle of the summer in each of the last two seasons. Ultimately, Soriano doesn’t seem concerned.
Missing velocity has been a hot topic in the early goings of the season, with most of the attention on Phil Hughes. He and Soriano are not alone though. Ivan Nova averaged 91.45 mph last night after sitting 92.9 last year. Jon Lester’s fastball averaged 93.5 mph in 2010 but sat just 91.19 on Opening Day. Felix Hernandez lost a full mile-an-hour when he sat 93.67 in his first start. Maybe everyone’s shoulder is hurt. Maybe it’s just the weather. Either way, there’s little use in getting worked up after one regular season start.