The Mariners are just a season removed from their bullpen being one of the roster’s brightest spots. Last year, the bullpen held the games close, which ended with the Mariners winning many one-run games. With most of that bullpen coming back and adding the arms of Andres Munoz and Ken Giles. It was thought the bullpen would be stronger than last year. As we all have seen earlier this season, the Mariners bullpen had seen some struggles.
Jerry Dipoto and the crew brought in Sergio Romo to provide some experience to the roster, especially playoff experience. It would have been a great pickup if Romo had anything left in the tank, but through 17 games he posted an 8.16 ERA over just 14.1 innings. He gave up almost a run per inning. Since the Mariners released Romo, they have had the best bullpen in baseball. Over 40 games since then, the Mariners bullpen has posted a 1.44 ERA over 43.2 IP. While also leading the MLB in fWAR.
The Mariners have had a few bright spots in their bullpen this year, that no one expected with guys like Penn Murfee and Ryan Borucki stepping up and providing for a bullpen that lost Drew Steckenrider and Casey Sadler. The latter still is under team control and had season-ending shoulder surgery on March 20th. While he has been rehabbing his shoulder, the Mariners do miss his arm in the bullpen.
This year, Erik Swanson has by far been the best reliever for the Mariners, with a 0.79 ERA over 22.2 IP, striking out 32 batters in the meantime. While the Mariners ‘pen leader Paul Sewald saw some struggles early on, he has settled back down into the same pitcher that Scott Servais used last year. He is currently 3-2, with nine saves, posting a 2.64 ERA over 30.2 innings.
As mentioned above, Penn Murfee has probably been one of the brightest spots in the bullpen this season:
With Yohan Ramirez struggling early on as well, the Mariners called up their 2018 33rd-round draft pick. Murfee did not, and has not disappointed, posting a 1.99 ERA over 31.2 innings. Becoming an integral piece in the Mariners bullpen, where they can use him in high leverage situations, a long relief outing, or even a spot start.
The Mariners saw a few of the integral pieces of their ecstatic 2021 bullpen baseball struggle, it happens. One year a bullpen can be outstanding, the next could be the complete opposite. While the Mariners still have guys like Drew Steckenrider, Darren McGaughan, Justus Sheffield, Anthony Misiewicz, and Nick Margevicius in the minors. They have lost guys like Yohan Ramirez, Justin Dunn, and Keynan Middleton to other teams.
So while the Seattle ball club lost a few guys who were integral pieces to the 2021 Mariners bullpen, they have added some new guys to the 2022 bullpen. Over the last 40 games, the Mariners bullpen has been the best in the MLB, which proves it may be a bright spot once again. Servais could rely on his bullpen more in the second half, but not only is the bullpen doing well… after Chris Flexen’s last start, the Mariners rotation is sitting at an ERA of 4.00 or below. If the Mariners offense can stay healthy in the second half, the Mariners might be a dangerous ball club.