Out of all of the bullpen additions this offseason, no one expected Kendall Graveman to be the deadliest pitcher out of the Seattle Mariners bullpen. Before being placed on the injured list while quarantining in San Diego, #49 did not allow a single run during the regular season.
Since his return to the Seattle Mariners bullpen, things have been a bit shaky for Graveman.
Seattle Mariners reliever Kendall Graveman has allowed three runs since his return
It almost looked impossible for the opponent to score against Kendall Graveman, but he has already allowed three runs since his return to the field on June 12. The 30-year-old came into a high leverage situation against the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the eighth.
The Mariners were up 4-0, and Graveman has 9, 1, 2 due up. Graveman was able to get the first batter, Rene Rivera to ground out, but gave up a solo home run to Cesar Hernandez. This was the first run and home run allowed by Kendall Graveman during the season.
That solo home run ended up being costly because Rafael montero allowed three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Indians later won the game in the bottom of the 10th.
Kendall was called upon the next day as well. Graveman came into the bottom of the ninth with a 1-6 lead, and he allowed his second run of the season. After a costly walk, single, and hit by pitch, Graveman threw a wild pitch which scored the runner on third base. #49 was able to get out of the jam but it wasn’t a strong showing by him.
He would have his first clean inning since his return from quarantine on the 18th of June against the Rays. He came into the top of the eighth to face the heart of the Rays order: Randy Arozarena, Austin Meadows, and Yandy Diaz. During this outing, Kendall Graveman looked a lot more like we were used to.
In his most recent outing, he allowed another solo home run. Graveman came in for the save opportunity and allowed a pinch-hit home run to Brandon Lowe, with two outs. The blown save didn’t end up being too costly because the Mariners walked it off in the 10th, but it is concerning.
What do I think of Kendall Graveman’s struggles?
I think one way to think about it is Kendall Graveman is coming down to earth. He was pitching out of the world prior to taking two weeks off in a hotel room, so maybe he’s just becoming “normal.”
Roughly a month ago, his FIP was 1.73, and his BABIP was .056. His FIP is now at 3.37 and his BABIP is at .170. Those are still good numbers but just not nearly as special as earlier.
Another way to look at Graveman’s struggles is that he just needs to get the rust off. He was quarantined in San Diego for two weeks and he was throwing into a mattress to keep his arm in shape. So, he could just be trying to get back into the swing of things and find his control.
One other potential factor could be the crackdown on illegal substances. This idea merely came from a Tweet I read so don’t take it too seriously but it is something to think about.
If Kendall Graveman continues to struggle for two more weeks, I might get a little concerned but I am not nervous right now. The Seattle Mariners should still count on him in high leverage situations moving forward.