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Mariners bullpen fighting to the finish

Mariners bullpen fighting to the finish

Mariners bullpen fighting to the finish
SEATTLE -- After giving up 12 earned runs and four home runs in 7 1/3 innings in three losses to the A's over the weekend, it's clear the Mariners bullpen is wearing down after an impressive run for most of 2012.

Left-hander Lucas Luetge, who had a 1.86 ERA through the first four months of the season, has given up 19 hits and 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings for a 9.26 ERA in August and September.

Luetge, in his first year in the Majors as a Rule 5 Draft pick, said he doesn't feel worn out by his 63 appearances but doesn't ignore the obvious, either.

"I don't think so, but obviously the numbers in September don't lie," said Luetge, who allowed a two-run blast to Josh Reddick in Sunday's loss. "I guess maybe my body isn't used to this, but it's just me needing to make a small adjustment these last three games and finish it out strong."

Charlie Furbush struggled Friday when he gave up two walks and a single without getting an out to fuel the A's four-run seventh, though he came back Sunday with a better inning.

"It was just a rough day at the office," Furbush said. "I felt a lot better obviously [Sunday]. It's not really something I want to dwell upon. That's not going to get me anywhere. Once it happened, I wasn't pleased with myself. You never want to create situations that somebody else has to clean up."

What did he do better Sunday?

"I think I just really made myself aware of what happened and that wasn't acceptable," he said. "I need to keep the bulldog mentality, even when things aren't going my way. I want to at least give myself my best shot and that really wasn't happening that day."

Shawn Kelley said the heavy use in the bullpen isn't an acceptable excuse. He was kicking himself after giving up the go-ahead home run to Yoenis Cespedes on Sunday.

"It's different, but at the same time if we want to make a stretch run at the playoffs, we're going to have to be pitching our best this time of the year," Kelley said. "There's no excuse being tired. Hitters, pitchers, we've all been through a long grind. But I felt pretty good out there. I just have to go out and execute pitches and get my job done. I had one job, to get Cespedes, and I knew that and I didn't get it done."

Manager Eric Wedge said the experience is all part of the club's growing process.

"Our bullpen has done a great job all year long," Wedge said. "I'm sure they're feeling it a little bit, just in regard to the number of appearances they've had and the workload. But the overall atmosphere and games in which they're playing, I think it's important for them. It's going to come back to them. It's going to be that much more comfortable when they get in more meaningful games for us late in the year."

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