The Seattle Mariners are on a nice little streak right now. Behind strong pitching performances and some decent run support, the Mariners have begun their slow climb up the AL West standings. Over the last week, Seattle took on the Blue Jays, Pirates and A’s.
They have won 10 of their last 15 games. They have won 5 of their last 6 series, splitting a short 2 game series in Pittsburgh. You know…I think I could get used to this.
It’s still too early to tell how things will wind up when all is said and done, but one thing is for sure…this year’s team seems to be more enjoyable to watch than any of the teams fielded the last few seasons. With that being said, let’s call out some guys for doing a good job.
There isn’t much I can say about Felix Hernandez that hasn’t been said yet. He’s one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. He proved that again this week with 2 lights out performances. I’m sure he was pretty excited, too, as he got to pick up a bat against Pittsburgh. (He struck out twice, no Grand Salami this time)
In 2 outings, King Felix went 16 innings, giving up 11 hits and a run. He surrendered 1 walk while striking out 12 on his way to 2 wins over this 3 series span.
Felix is not the only starting pitcher locking opponents down in the batters box. Hisashi Iwakuma has become a monster of his own, terrorizing teams with high strike out totals and an almost perfect ERA. While many would disagree, Iwakuma may be the best #2 starter in baseball.
Iwakuma got 2 starts as well, going 14 innings, giving up 9 hits, 3 runs and 3 walks. He struck out 14 batters and picked up wins in both starts to add to his season numbers.
Joe Saunders hasn’t been hard to predict at all this season. His nickname Safeco Joe is a dead giveaway about how good he is at home. On the road, though? Not so much. Saunders improved to a 9-0 career record at Safeco Field this week, extending his streak until the next homestand.
It was a hit or miss week for Saunders, ending the week with a 1-1 record. He wound up going 11.1 innings, giving up 14 hits, 8 runs and 5 walks. He struck out 6 guys and allowed 2 home runs.
The rookie jitters have been showing in AA turned pro starter Brandon Maurer. He got 1 start over the 8 game span and it was not pretty. While he has a lot of slack to work with given his rookie status, Maurer should start looking to get more consistent or he may wind up meeting the Big 3 in Tacoma.
In his lone outing, Maurer went 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 2 home runs and struck out 4. Needless to say he took an L.
While he has shown some veteran presence on the mound, Aaron Harang has proven he is just filler until phenom Danny Hultzen is ready to make the leap from AAA to the pros. Harang has had his struggles with flashes of brilliance in between. While I am nowhere near singing his praises, he has helped at least somewhat.
Harang’s only outing of the week was not bad, but he received the cliche lack of run support we are used to seeing from Mariners hitters. He went 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs, striking out 6.
The bullpen saw limited action this week due to so many starters going deep into games…something we’re not necessarily used to seeing. With that being said, let’s highlight the best, the worst, and the most steady.
By far the biggest surprise (to me at least) is Yoervis Medina. While he WAS on my radar in the minors, there were more pressing matters to complain over in the Seattle bullpen – like relievers who couldn’t help the team out. In comes Medina like a breath of fresh air and he has the best performance of the week from the bullpen.
Medina pitched 3.1 innings this week in 3 appearances. He only gave up a single hit and struck out 3 in the process. You can’t get much better than that!
The single worst performance of the week came from an old friend, Hector Noesi. After struggling in the rotation, he was moved to relief status. It seems he’s having a bit of trouble there, too.
In his lone outing of the week, Noesi went 2 innings, giving up 6 hits, 3 runs and a walk, while striking out 1 man. Now we see why he only had 1 outing. Yikes.
And to close out, it was only fitting to call on The Bartender. Tom Wilhelmsen had himself a nice week, getting to see action in 3 of the 8 games. He threw 3 scoreless innings, allowing a hit, a walk and striking a guy out. He also added 2 saves to his season total, putting him among league leaders in the Closer category.