Mariners' bullpen on nice streak of its own

Mariners' bullpen on nice streak of its own

BOSTON -- Among the more pleasant surprises the Mariners have put together during their recent hot streak is a bullpen that has gone five straight games without allowing a run.

In 13 1/3 innings of work, the relievers held opposing batters to a .133 batting average (6-for-45) with just three walks and 10 strikeouts.

Manager Eric Wedge has established roles with Brandon League as the closer, Jamey Wright as the eighth-inning setup man and Aaron Laffey and David Pauley the primary "bridge" guys between starters and late-inning relievers as needed.

League, now 7-for-7 in save situations after slamming the door on the Red Sox two straight days, said it's helped knowing specific roles after starting the season with some uncertainty with an almost entirely new group that was missing closer David Aardsma.

"I think we're jelling and starting to show on the field, with guys just doing their job and what they need to do," League said. "Everything else takes care of itself. We're on a nice little streak right now."

League has now exceeded his previous career high of six saves set last year while filling in at times for Aardsma. League came into the season with eight saves in seven Major League seasons, having never been the primary late-inning man until now.

"I feel pretty good," League said. "It's Jamey and then me. It's always nice to know when you're pitching. It makes your job easier knowing when to focus. You start the inning before rather than needing to be ready from the sixth on."

League joins Neftali Feliz of Texas and Jonathan Papelbon of Boston as the only American League closers to be perfect in five or more save opportunities thus far.

"He's proving to be very comfortable in that role," Wedge said. "You have to respect the history he's had with different roles, as a setup guy, a little as a closer, his ability to give you some length at times. He's handled it all very well."

Wedge is learning to understand League's even-keeled approach.

"When you're in a closer's role, you either have to be amped up out of your mind or the coolest cat in the house," said Wedge. "And I think he's the second of those two."