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Kranitz the Guru

If you remember the start of the season if, and I do mean if, a starter got through the fifth - that was a great start.

My how things have changed.

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz, whom Girardi credits with turning around the Marlins' staff, says what a pitcher believes when he takes the mound can be more important than what he throws.

''Absolutely. No question about it,'' he said. ``Throwing with conviction is not just being aggressive. It's believing in what you're doing. It's all a state of mind. I could throw 95 [mph] but . . . it's going to get hit [if] I'm not believing it. But I can throw 85 and believe it, it works.''

Ah, I wonder how many other teams employ a metaphysical approach to pitching.