Bullpen seeking relief after recent heavy workload

Bullpen seeking relief after recent heavy workload

Bullpen seeking relief after recent heavy workload
SEATTLE -- In the wake of Tuesday's 18-inning loss to the Orioles and Monday's 1 1/3-inning start by Hector Noesi, manager Eric Wedge has needed his relievers to soak up 17 2/3 innings of work in two games going into Wednesday night's series finale with the Orioles.

Even with September callups providing extra depth, that's a heavy burden for a bullpen. Oliver Perez (4 innings), Stephen Pryor (3) and Shawn Kelley (2 2/3) threw in both of the first two games against Baltimore and Wedge used seven different relievers on Tuesday, including two innings out of closer Tom Wilhelmsen.

"We got a couple guys who will be down, but it's a rally day for the 'pen," Wedge said prior to Wednesday's Felix Hernandez start. "They're a close group, you rally together and you pick your ballclub up. We've got an off-day tomorrow and Felix on the mound tonight, so hopefully he steps up and has a good performance for us and we won't need near as much out of the 'pen as we have the last couple nights."

The Mariners can thank Blake Beavan for seven strong innings Sunday in Texas for keeping things from being a lot worse, as Wedge had gone heavily to his 'pen in the previous five games of the last road trip as well.

Over the past eight games, Wedge used his nine relievers in 33 instances to get 34 2/3 innings of work, an average of four relievers for 4 1/3 innings every game.

Kelley threw in five of those games (5 innings), Josh Kinney threw five games (4 1/3 innings), Perez four (5 1/3 innings), Pryor four (4 innings), Wilhelmsen four (5 1/3 innings), Lucas Luetge four (3 innings), Carter Capps three (5 innings), Charlie Furbush three (2/3 of an inning) and Noesi once (2 innings).

Kelley grimaced after giving up a hit to J.J. Hardy, the first batter he faced in the 16th Tuesday, but stayed in the game and finished the inning even after catcher Miguel Olivo had signaled for the trainer to come out to the mound.

"I'm a little sore today," Kelley acknowledged Wednesday. "I warmed up a few times last night. My shoulder was a little fatigued. All that caught up with me a little bit. I wasn't hurt or anything, just a little achy and didn't feel 100 percent.

"I knew it wasn't anything where I was going to hurt anything on the next pitch. Miggy was just concerned and saw something in my face and being a good teammate he knew something wasn't right. I appreciated him doing that, but I told them, 'Hey, I'm finishing this inning, I'm good. We'll talk about it later.'"

When the game ended with lefty specialist Luetge taking the loss in his second inning in the 18th, Capps was the only reliever still in the bullpen and he was off limits after throwing the previous two days.

Beavan was sent to the bullpen to warm up and would have been used next, Wedge said. Beavan also will be in the bullpen for Wednesday's finale in case of emergency, with Noesi also available now that he's been taken out of the rotation.