Farquhar finishing season on a high note

Farquhar finishing season on a high note

ARLINGTON -- In a roller-coaster year for Danny Farquhar, the ride seems to be stuck in the up position the past few weeks, and that's a welcome turn for the Mariners reliever.

The 28-year-old was sent down to Triple-A Tacoma on four occasions this season and owned an ugly 6.23 ERA for Seattle at the All-Star break, part of a Mariners bullpen that imploded in the first half and led to much of the season's disappointing start.

But Farquhar played a huge role in Friday night's 3-1 win over the Rangers, inducing a double-play grounder by Mike Napoli to get starter James Paxton out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and then breezing through a perfect sixth in picking up his first victory of the season.

That continued a promising trend since his final recall from Tacoma on Sept. 7, as he's allowed just one hit with one walk and nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 scoreless innings in seven appearances while lowering his season ERA to 4.78.

"In my mind, I think he's back," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "It's really nice to see. You try not to think about what ifs. It's nice to see him throw the way he's capable of throwing it."

Farquhar, a huge part of Seattle's bullpen prowess in 2014, when he posted a 2.66 ERA in 71 outings, has relished his return to form more than anyone.

"Yeah, I love it," he said. "I wish I could have been this guy earlier in the year, but I'm happy I'm throwing well now and trying to finish strong."

The right-hander said he felt he was throwing well earlier, even when he was sent back to Tacoma the final time, and he has continued with some mechanical changes that have helped.

"I've been throwing the ball well since the All-Star break," he said. "I got the opportunity to come up and just continue to do what I was doing. I think there was an issue with my arm slot. That's what the consensus is, so I'm just going to keep throwing from where I'm at right now."

Farquhar said regaining his bread-and-butter cutter has been the key, which seemed to come along with stumbling into his arm-slot issue.

"I didn't do it on purpose," Farquhar said. "I think my arm was getting tired as the season was going, so it dropped a little and everything just started flowing. I think I was up too high to start the year and it was just kind of messing with my cutter. I wasn't throwing it, I was just kind of guiding it in there and it wasn't doing what it was the last couple years."

Baseball can be a funny game that way. As with Farquhar's critical double-play grounder from Napoli, which started with the Rangers' veteran grounding a ball that had been elevated to induce a popup and ending with shortstop Ketel Marte tripping over the bag at second, but still making the throw.

"I was trying to strike out Napoli or pop him up with the high fastball and he somehow got on top of it and we got that double play. Right positioning and got it turned. Marte looked amazing, by the way," Farquhar said with a smile. "Very athletic. We can laugh about it now because he's a super athlete."

"That was a huge play," said Paxton, who had just walked in a run with the bases loaded. "Farq did a great job. That was awesome. He's been throwing the ball great, and he got me out of a big jam there."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.