MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - INSIDE PITCH
HOUSTON -- Paramount to the Seattle Mariners' decision to keep 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster for the immediate future is the execution of the designed roles within the bullpen.
With manager Lloyd McClendon aiming to take full advantage of one of the best staffs in baseball, the onus rests on the players to excel in their given responsibilities. Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen is doing precisely that as an effective long reliever.
In the series opener against the Astros, Wilhelmsen earned his first save of the season by working three innings in relief of right-hander Taijuan Walker, allowing one run on one hit and two walks. The outing marked the third since June 11 in which Wilhelmsen worked three innings, a career-high stint. That he is pitching so long in relief with such great frequency of late is indicative of his evolution and reliability.
"He's done a nice job," McClendon said of the former closer. "We've run him out there several times for two or three innings, and he seems to handle it. He's strong, it doesn't affect him, he bounces back, and it's been big for us because it's given us an opportunity to use other guys in different fashions at different times."
Wilhelmsen struggled with inconsistency last season, finishing 0-3 with a 4.12 ERA and 24 saves. Those he is no longer closing, rebuilding his confidence was integral to the Mariners' bullpen prowess.
"With any pitcher, it's kind of putting the pieces back in place and building the confidence a little bit," McClendon said. "Part of my job is making sure our players believe they are just as good as they can be."
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won four
NEXT: Mariners (LHP Roenis Elias, 7-6, 3.96 ERA) at White Sox (LHP Chris Sale, 7-1, 2.30 ERA)
--CF James Jones batted .500 (8-for-16) with six runs during the series in Houston despite a 1-for-5 performance Wednesday. Jones scored the first run in the Mariners' breakout, four-run sixth inning. He raised his season batting average 18 points to .293 during the series.
--RHP Chris Young earned his eighth win after allowing just two hits (both solo home runs) over seven innings, walking one while striking out a season-high eight batters. Young produced his fourth consecutive quality start, surrendering just four earned runs during that span. He has eight wins in a season for the first time since 2007, when he was with the Padres. Six times this season, he allowed three fewer or less while pitching at least six innings, second in the majors to Reds RHP Johnny Cueto.
--RHP Fernando Rodney, who recorded his 24th save with a perfect ninth inning Wednesday, is 24-for-26 in save opportunities this season. His 24 saves prior to the All-Star break are tied for second in club annals with RHP J.J. Putz (2007). RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki recorded 29 saves before the break in 2001.
--3B Kyle Seager finished 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and an RBI. He is batting .488 (21-for-43) with five doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs since June 11.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know where we would be without him. He's done a tremendous job for us and today was no different. It was a quality start from start to finish. He gave us an opportunity." -- Manager Lloyd McClendon, on RHP Chris Young, who held the Houston Astros to two runs in seven innings Wednesday during the Mariners' 5-2 victory.
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - ROSTER REPORT
--DH Corey Hart (strained left hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 19. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on June 21.
--1B Justin Smoak (strained left quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 10. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on June 18.
--RHP Blake Beavan (right shoulder stiffness) went on the 15-day disabled list April 16, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 30.
--LHP James Paxton (strained lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list April 9. He met with the team doctor April 23 and was cleared to start playing catch. He threw bullpen sessions May 9, May 11 and May 14. He pitched in a simulated game May 17. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on May 24. He didn't throw May 26 due to left shoulder soreness, and he was shut down for five to seven days as of May 28.
RHP Felix Hernandez
LHP Roenis Elias
RHP Chris Young
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
RHP Taijuan Walker
RHP Fernando Rodney (closer)
RHP Danny Farquhar
RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
LHP Charlie Furbush
RHP Brandon Maurer
RHP Yoervis Medina
LHP Joe Beimel
RHP Dominic Leone
1B Logan Morrison
2B Robinson Cano
SS Brad Miller
3B Kyle Seager
INF/OF Willie Bloomquist
LF Dustin Ackley
CF James Jones
RF Michael Saunders
OF/DH Endy Chavez
OF Cole Gillespie