The Farther They Go, The Fresher The Mariners Bullpen Arms Become

Jason Smarr
Aug 12, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Marco Gonzales (7) celebrates following the final out of a 3-1 complete game victory against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Marco Gonzales (7) celebrates following the final out of a 3-1 complete game victory against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Yusei Kikuchi of the Seattle Mariners looks on.
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – JULY 17: Yusei Kikuchi has returned to his All-Star form after stumbling out of the All-Star Break. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Kikuchi Returning to All-Star form will keep the bullpen fresh.

Yusei Kikuchi struggled in his first 3 starts coming out of the All-Star break, but since then he has returned back to All-Star form. This has proven beneficial to both the Mariners and their bullpen as Kikuchi was the one who started the streak of outings that have gone at least 5 innings. It was rumored that Kikuchi may have been injured both going into the All-Star break and coming out of it, but there was never any clarity regarding what had happened.

Ultimately, it was evident that something had happened because Kikuchi has completely flipped the switch and has returned to All-Star form. Over his last 3 starts, Kikuchi has gone 16 innings while allowing 4 earned runs. Those are All-Star numbers for sure. About 3 relievers have been used per game in his last 3 outings.

Limiting the need for bullpen arms to be used is valuable for the Mariners as they head down the stretch run and if Kikuchi can continue doing what he has been doing, the Mariners will be better set up for success. Hopefully, Kikuchi can continue to provide the Mariners with a quality start each time he takes the mound so that the bullpen can continue to stay fresh.

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