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Mariners' 'pen emerging as one of game's best

Mariners' 'pen emerging as one of game's best

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Mariners' 'pen emerging as one of game's best
SEATTLE -- The Mariners' bullpen has developed into a considerable strength this season, a fact driven home when the group set a club record for the lowest bullpen ERA for a month with their 1.88 mark in June.

The previous record was 1.97 in July of 2001. Mariners relievers went 8-2 with seven saves and just 20 earned runs allowed in 95 2/3 innings in the month. And they certainly haven't slowed down since, posting four hitless innings with just one walk in Monday's 6-3 win over the Orioles.

"Guys are stepping up in situations," said right-handed setup man Shawn Kelley. "It's a good group, pretty young overall and we all pull for each other and work hard and lock it in down there and pay attention to what's going on. And I think you're seeing that preparation on the field now. It's a fun group and it's showing out there."

The bullpen has solidified with the move of Tom Wilhelmsen to the closer's role. Wilhelmsen has not allowed a run in his last 19 2/3 innings and is 7-for-7 in save situations. Left-handers Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge have been excellent as well.

Steve Delabar, who pitched two scoreless innings and got the win on Monday in his first outing since returning from Triple-A Tacoma, said the group feeds off each other.

"Although I wasn't here the whole time, you pay attention to what's going on," Delabar said. "You just kind of want to follow suit and go along with what's going on. You do your work, you're just ready at all times. When the phone rings and they call your name, you get up and get loose and if they get you in, you get your job done.

"For us, there is no other way. It's 'I'm getting the job done' because you're backing up the guy in front of you and you just want to follow suit. If a guy leaves a couple runners on, you want to go in and shut it down for him because these are your boys."

Manager Eric Wedge has been impressed with the depth of the bullpen, which recently has added lefty veteran Oliver Perez and now Delabar back to the mix.

"They've been on quite a stretch here and we've had multiple guys down there really stepping up for us," Wedge said. "That's been really good to see."

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