SEATTLE -- Hard-throwing rookie Stephen Pryor has been very good in his first 10 appearances for the Mariners, posting a 0.84 ERA while allowing eight hits in 10 2/3 innings, but the big right-hander has been off the charts in dealing with runners on base.
Going into Wednesday's series finale with the Rays, Pryor had yet to allow a hit in 18 plate appearances with a runner on base. Opponents are 0-for-16 with two walks in that situation and 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Add his 16 games with Triple-A Tacoma, and opposing batters are 0-for-50 with runners on base and 0-for-24 with runners in scoring position.
The 23-year-old does take a slightly different approach with runners on.
"With me, doing my quick step with runners on base for some reason, I'm able to get inside a little more on righties," Pryor said. "And to lefties I'm able to bury that slider into the back foot a little easier. Maybe I'm going a little quicker down the mound. So I guess being able to pick at the corners with two pitches and being able to bear down and able to compete helps."
Pryor picked up his second win on Tuesday after throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up a leadoff double to Jeff Keppinger in the ninth and stranded him in a crucial situation in the 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
"He's been really good," said manager Eric Wedge. "I like his poise on the mound, I like the way he competes. I thought last night was big for him as he continues to move forward."
Despite his youth, Pryor has shown an ability to stay calm in tight situations, which sometimes is as simple as chatting to himself on the mound.
"Sometimes I talk to myself or do different things," Pryor said. "It's not just facing the batter or who the batter is, it's more what I've got to do to make quality pitches and get ahead. It's usually just a quick sentence.
"If I'm struggling a little, I'll tell myself to stay back or something like that. Pitching is such a mental battle. If you're able to mentally correct yourself, that's when adjustments are made. Adjustments aren't made as much physically as mentally. ... Some people take a deep breath, count backwards, some guys talk to themselves, some guys speed up their work to get into the right rhythm. Everybody has their own little thing."