Learning no. 2 – The Mariners bullpen has been good, for the most part
For me, the bullpen was mostly good against the Giants but there were a couple of rough patches. On Opening Day, Will Vest and Rafael Montero gave up a run which got the Giants back into the game, and forced the Mariners to walk it off in the bottom of the 10th.
Will Vest made his MLB debut and was able to strike out the first batter he faced but he gave up a two-out double to Wilmer Flores, threw a wild pitch, walked Buster Posey, and then the Giants scored on a throwing error made by J.P. Crawford (Evan White could’ve made a play). For Vest, it wasn’t the ultimate “I blew it” sort of inning. He did run into some bad luck with Crawford’s error but the two-out double hurt. The 25-year-old’s advanced metrics don’t look great right now, but it’s a tiny sample.
Rafael Montero has appeared in two games already and his first outing wasn’t very clutch. After the Mariners made a huge come back in the eight, Montero came in with a one-run lead and he allowed a lead-off solo home run to Alex Dickerson but was able to get the next three batters out. Montero was able to redeem himself in yesterday’s game and recorded his first save as a Mariner. He came into the eighth inning in a high leverage situation and was able to get the last out, and pitched a clean ninth inning. The 30-year-old’s xERA is at 3.86.
The other hiccup the Mariners bullpen had was one Friday. Drew Steckenrider came into the seventh inning after a nice outing from Kikuchi and he allowed three earned runs and wasn’t able to complete the whole inning. I was pretty high on Steckenrider based on his past advanced metrics but he disappointed me Friday night. Control was a big issue for him, so if he can sort that out, we might see better things from him.
Besides these three bumpy outings, the rest of the bullpen has been lights out. Casey Sadler, Anthony Misiewicz, Keynan Middleton, Nick Margevicius, and Kendall Graveman have not given up a single run. They have combined for eight strikeouts and limited the number of runners on base. Kendall Graveman especially looked good last night and threw two innings of hitless baseball and struck out five.
Jerry Dipoto has done a nice job of putting together a powerful bullpen and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners have a top 10 bullpen in the MLB this season. But, that mostly depends on whether guys like Will Vest and Drew Steckenrider can be consistent, I am pretty confident in everyone else.