Going into this weekend, current losing skid nonwithstanding, it would have been easy to predict the outcome of this weekend’s games against the Padres. Saturday pitted Mariner ace Felix Hernandez against the aging Jason Marquis while Sunday’s matchup featured Hector Noesi and Edinson Volquez. If you thought that the Mariners would have the upper hand on Saturday but fall short on Sunday, you were right.
Not only did the Mariners come out on top on Saturday against the Padres, they did so in one of the more fun Mariners games of the year. The pitching was awesome. The hitting was great all-around. The outcome went in the Mariners’ favor.
Felix Hernandez pitched seven strong innings, striking out 10 and walking one while only giving up one run, but his most impressive feat perhaps occured at the plate. With the game tied 1-1 in the second inning, Felix came to the plate and lined a two-run double down the right field line, driving in what would work out to be the winning run in his own game. Michael Saunders continued his outstanding season by hitting a solo shot. Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro kept their hot streaks alive, combining to go 3-9 on the night.
The bullpen remained consistent, with Luetge, League and Wilhelmsen shutting the door in the final two innings.
Which brings me to today’s game. Sort of.
The Mariners lost 2-0 to the Padres. Hector Noesi was good, the offense was bad, and this outcome probably shouldn’t surprise anybody as it seems like we’ve seen the same story over and over. Noesi earned his ninth loss of the year but hasn’t deserved nine losses. What I want to talk about, however, is the Mariners’ bullpen.
Charlie Furbush is really good. He pitched another two perfect innings today, dropping his ERA to 2.01. The last run he gave up was on May 15th. In the 13 games he has played in since then, Furbush has pitched 18.1 innings and given up only three hits. Charlie Furbush is a middle reliever and has already racked up 0.8 WAR. Lucas Luetge has been worth 0.5. Tom Wilhelmsen 0.4. I don’t know if Charlie Furbush has the stuff to be a consistently dominant reliever, but he has been fun to watch for a long time now. With Casper Wells succeeding now too, it seems like the Mariners got a pretty decent haul for Doug Fister.
In case you were curious, Fister is at 1-4 with a 2.72 ERA in Detroit. Some things never change, I guess – the guy can’t catch a break.
The Mariners return home to play Oakland, Boston (sans Kevin Youkilis) and Baltimore. Hopefully it goes better than their last homestand.