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Overworked bullpen out of sync on road trip

Overworked bullpen out of sync on road trip

Overworked bullpen out of sync on road trip
DENVER -- Admitting his bullpen is "considerably" up in the air toward the end of a long road trip that has seen relievers pitch more than their share of innings, manager Eric Wedge offered an inventory of a bullpen that has posted a 3.97 ERA through the season's first 40 games.

The Mariners led 4-0 in the middle of the seventh Thursday, but lost the game 6-5 in 11 innings. They got three innings of scoreless relief from three relievers, but two others accounted for five runs. After the Mariners reclaimed the lead in the top of the 11th, closer Brandon League blew his third save in 11 chances this season, allowing a pair of runs to take the loss.

"He was just out of sync yesterday," Wedge said. "His delivery was out of sync and he just wasn't able to find it. He battled and worked as hard as he could to try and get through it, but he just wasn't himself yesterday."

The Indians earlier had tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when Jose Lopez launched a three-run homer off right-handed reliever Steve Delabar, his third allowed in 18 1/3 innings this season.

"He needs to do a better job against right-handers," Wedge said. "He needs to do a better job of keeping the ball away and making sure the ball ends up where he wants it to end up, whether it be his secondary stuff or whether it be his fastball in particular. He's been dominant against left-handers, which is why he was in the game yesterday. You're not going to do much better than .043 coming into the game. But he's been decent against right-handers, with the exception of the big ball. More times than not that's about driving the ball where you want, driving it to home plate and making sure it ends up there."

Left-hander Lucas Luetge has been phenomenal, matching a club record by starting his career with 15 appearances and no earned runs.

"I feel like [Charlie] Furbush and Luetge have done a nice job for the most part," Wedge said. "I really felt good about [Tom] Wilhemsen's two hitters yesterday. I felt like that was his old self. [Shawn] Kelley's going to continue to get more innings.

"I think that everybody would agree, [Hisashi] Iwakuma has saved our bullpen three or four times now out of four outings, or four times out of five outings," Wedge said of the right-hander's four innings of relief Wednesday. "That's his role, because when you do that, the effect it has on your bullpen is really a week. If you blow through your bullpen, it'll take you a good five or six days to catch up, and you don't want to be playing catch-up in the bullpen and trying to win games like that."

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