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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Mariners pitching must improve

2.59 ERA. 51 saves. 157 allowed runs. .219 batting average.

Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just reminiscing about the Seattle Mariners bullpen in 2014. Those numbers were all top-five in Major League Baseball last season.

That seems like such a long time ago. Seattle’s bullpen was the best in baseball. The starting pitchers could rest easy that any lead they left the game with would be safe and secure.

No such luck this season.

The bullpen has dropped to depths we haven’t seen in years. So far in 2015, the bullpen has an ERA of 3.92 and is allowing batters to hit .250. Those numbers are a far cry from 2014’s dominance. Worse, they have walked a league-high 36 batters.

Not good.

The starting pitching hasn’t been much better. Felix Hernandez has been his usual dominant self, so no need to speak more on that. But, three of the five pitchers in the Mariners rotation are sporting ERAs over six. Taijuan Walker was supposed to break out, but he has a 10.66 ERA through three starts. J.A. Happ of all people is rocking a 2.61 ERA and has looked quite serviceable as the fifth man in the rotation.

It’s especially frustrating given the improvement of Seattle’s offense. Last season, the Mariners routinely lost in low-scoring games because the hitting prowess simply wasn’t there. Besides Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager, there wasn’t much pop in the lineup.

Everything has changed with the addition of Nelson Cruz, who has been simply sensational this season. Boomstick has already crushed nine home runs and has garnered 20 RBIs in only 18 games. Both lead the majors.

The Mariners, for years, have been a team that had great pitching but dreadful offense. They’ve lost more 2-1 games over the last five years than I care to remember.

It would figure that they finally get some competent bats in the lineup, only to watch the pitching crumble to pieces.

It’s still very early in the season, but overreaction is the name of the game in sports. The Mariners were touted as World Series contenders this season and they are currently four games under .500 and four games out of the division. They dropped home series to the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins. Good teams don’t lose series at home against those squads.

If the pitching doesn’t come around soon, all of those Cruz home runs and Cano doubles into the gap might not be worth much at all.


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