Mariners Spring Training Preview: The Bullpen

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Aug 20, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher

Danny Farquhar

(40) celebrates with catcher

Humberto Quintero

(35) after the win against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum. The Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

**Editor’s Note: This is part three of a five-part series previewing Mariners Spring Training. Please feel free to check out Part one (Outfield) and Part two (Infield) with the links provided. Thanks for reading.

Aside from the revolving door that was the bottom three in the pitching rotation last season, the bullpen was the most disappointing part of 2013. Although you could argue defense– especially in the outfield– was up there too.

Before we look at what 2014 might look like in The ‘Pen, let’s agonize over last season’s numbers:

Bad Things (very bad things):

  • Out of the 30 bullpens in the MLB the Mariners ranked 29th in ERA with 4.58. The ‘Pen that ranked 30th was the Houston Astros, whose ERA was bloated to 4.92. That’s no good, folks.
  • They allowed 273 runs, 257 of those earned– the unearned runs were a combination of inherited runners from the starters and errors. I want to say it was mostly errors but it was mostly both, unfortunately.
  • The ‘Pen had a 2.388 K/BB ratio over the course of the season. Also bad. The American League average was 2.47 K/BB. In the National League the average was slightly lower at 2.443 K/BB.
  • They were 25th in the MLB with a .253 batting average against (BAA)
  • And yay! They also had the 4th-most losses as a bullpen in baseball.
  • The ‘Pen Also blew 23 saves en route to 33 losses in the ‘Pen, good enough again for 4th-worst in the league.
  • They were 8th in home runs allowed at 55

But it wasn’t ENTIRELY terrible in 2013…

Good(ish) Things:

  • The ‘Pen was 11th in baseball with 43 saves. Which isn’t all that bad considering they blew 23 others and only won 71 games. So there’s one pat on the back for the boys chilling out in Left Center Field.
  • The Mariners bullpen was 1st, first, first, FIRST! in strikeouts in 2013 at 535 strikeouts over 505.0 Innings Pitched. That’s pretty sweet. Something for them to hang their hats on, and hopefully something that will lead to less inflated numbers in 2014.
  • Hmm, that’s really it on the good unless I start digging into things so obscure Billy Beane wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

So if you weren’t already sure, last season was not good in the ‘Pen. And if you had finally squished those thoughts down into the depth of your subconscious, I am sorry for bringing them up again.

I’m done with Monday Morning Quarterbacking now so you can breathe easy.