Mariners Analysis: M’s Bullpen Implodes This Week
Today’s blown save, courtesy of Tom Wilhelmsen, capped off a horrendous week for the entire Mariner bullpen.
Before Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels (which they lost), the M’s bullpen was boasting an impeccable .125 opposing batting average . Their success helped the Mariners to a 11-3 record through the first half of August, including a six game win streak, the teams longest this year. And then the ‘pen, lost it.
Starting on Tuesday the bullpen allowed hit after hit, run after run, handing the lead over to their opponents in 2 of the team’s 3 losses this week, and aided in widening their lead in the other loss. Their OBA nearly tripled from the first part of the month, ballooning to .365.
And their ERA, that suffered too, as the bullpen combined to allow 15 runs in as many innings, which equates to an 8.80 earned run average. To put that into perspective, over the first 14 games of August the Mariners allowed just 6 runs over 43 innings, which calculates to a far more respectable 1.25 ERA. So what happened, where did it go all wrong, or more accurately, who made it go all wrong. Well the numbers tell us that there were certain players that imploded more than the rest.
Nick Vincent was one of the biggest culprits of the poorest pitching this past week. In six of his last five outings he has allowed at least 1 hit, but in his 2 outings before today, he allowed multiple hits and multiple runs. In that game on Tuesday he gave up 2 runs, and then on Thursday he did one worse, allowing 3. This pushed his ERA up and over 4.00 for the first time since June 19th, 2015. The Mariners also happened to lose in both those games, and lost by margins that, had Vincent not allowed any runs, the M’s would’ve been victorious.
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The other player who let the team down was the young, electrifying, Edwin Diaz. Diaz has been the talk of the town since coming up from the minors back in June, as he has moved down countless batters by throwing 100-plus heat right past them. Yet, his last 2 appearances have been uncharacteristic. He has allowed runs in back-to-back outings, one of which he allowed a couple of them. It was only the 2nd time of his short career that he had done that. He also had never given up a run in consecutive appearances. He also struggled mightily with his command. In the later of the two outings he walked 3 batters, a new career worst for the power-righty. In total he surrendered 4 bases on balls in the 2 games, nearly half of his previous total in his 32 relief outings he had before. On a positive note, he did manage to earn a save in each of those under-performing appearances, but he was still the cause of many unnecessary nerves down the stretch of those games.
Yes, others played in a part in the disastrous week for the bullpen, and they are not off the hook just because they weren’t highlighted in this piece, but for now we must go forward hoping things will go back to the way they were. The Mariners need wins, as the inch closer and closer to a wild card spot. Throwing away wins isn’t going to cut it, if they want to make it to the playoffs.