The relief pitcher’s early-season problems led to him being sent to Class AAA Tacoma, but he’s returned to the effectiveness he showed last year.

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Manager Lloyd McClendon doesn’t like to play the “what-if” game. In a season where so many little things have gone wrong, destroying expectations of the postseason and more, thinking about all the reasons why can be maddening.

And yet, after watching Danny Farquhar pitch so well in the last 10 days, he can’t help himself. Where could the Mariners have been if Farquhar had been this good all season? It certainly could have helped stave off some of the bullpen blowups that plagued the Mariners all season.

On Friday night, McClendon brought Farquhar into the game in the fifth inning with one out and the bases loaded to face right-handed hitting slugger Mike Napoli.

Earlier in the season, Farquhar probably would have gotten behind early in the count, forcing himself to a throw a pitch in the strike zone, leading to trouble. It happened far too often early in the season, and it led to him being sent to Class AAA Tacoma.

But Farquhar didn’t do that Friday night. He threw a solid, first-pitch, 93-mph fastball on the outside corner for strike one on the first pitch. He came back with a swinging strike on a curveball to go up 0-2. His third pitch led to a ground ball to second for an inning-ending double play.

Farquhar came back to work a 1-2-3 scoreless sixth inning and picked up the win in relief. In seven appearances since being called up in September, Farquhar has pitched 71/3 scoreless innings and has allowed just one hit with nine strikeouts and a walk.

“In my mind, I think he’s back,” McClendon said. “It’s really nice to see.”

It would have been nice to see it all season.

“You try not to think about what-ifs,” he said. “It’s nice to see him throw the way he’s capable of throwing it.”

A year ago, Farquhar was one of the Mariners’ most valuable relievers, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.66 ERA and a save in 66 appearances. Of the 66 outings, he didn’t allow a run in 51 of them. He also struck out 81 batters in 71 innings.

But he was nowhere near that effective early this season. He made 22 appearances in the first three months, posting a 6.49 ERA.

After a few stints with Class AAA Tacoma, Farquhar feels like he’s fixed some issues.

“I’ve been throwing the ball well since the All-Star break,” he said. “I got the opportunity to come up and just continue to do what I was doing. I think there was an issue with my arm slot. That’s what the consensus is, so I’m just going to keep throwing from where I’m at right now.”

There was no conscious decision to throw that way. It just kind of happened and it’s been beneficial.

“I think my arm was getting tired as the season was going, so it dropped a little and everything just started flowing,” Farquhar said. “I think I was up too high to start the year and it was just kind of messing with my cutter. I wasn’t throwing it, I was just kind of guiding it in there and it wasn’t doing what it was the last couple years.”

Notes

• It was mildly surprising not to see Logan Morrison in the starting lineup on Saturday night, considering he’s hitting .393 against lefty Cole Hamels for his career. McClendon’s reasoning?

“Cole kind of handled him the last time out,” McClendon said. “And Logan isn’t swinging it very well right now.”

• Coming into Saturday’s game, the Mariners’ bullpen had not allowed a run during a span of 211/3 innings over the last six games. Not surprisingly, it was the longest streak of the season. But it’s also tied for the eighth-longest scoreless stretch in club history.