Whether he is chosen to fill the expected open spot in the Mariners’ six-man starting rotation or they decide to keep him in the role of long reliever, Ljay Newsome has done all he can to show the Mariners his value to their pitching staff.
Just two days after throwing 40 pitches in an extended relief outing Friday, Newsome was asked to save a heavily used bullpen Sunday afternoon in the Mariners’ 5-3 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
With starter Nick Margevicius exiting with one out in the first inning due shoulder fatigue and a complete lack of control, the Mariners’ bullpen, which had multiple pitchers unable to throw, was put in a precarious position.
But Newsome solved the problem, pitching the final four innings — all scoreless — and allowing two hits. Down 4-1 after the first inning, the bullpen allowed just one run over the final eight innings.
“The bullpen again did an unbelievable job today,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Ljay Newsome, to go out there and give us four scoreless innings like he did, he gave us a chance to come back in the ballgame. But even more important than that is what it sets us up to do going forward because we didn’t have to run through every guy in our bullpen today. So Ljay is our player of the game for me. And you don’t have many players of the game when you lose the game.”
Newsome threw 54 pitches (40 strikes). Most pitchers couldn’t handle that sort of workload after an extended outing two days earlier.
“Unbelievable,” Servais said. “I can’t say enough about the job that he did, knowing that he only had one day off, and he just keeps pitching. I thought his velocity was very good. The first couple innings, it started to tail off and he just kept making pitches. And we made some really good defensive plays behind him as well.”
But will it be enough for him to take that rotation spot?
“We’ll talk about it here the next few days,” Servais said. “That’s Ljay’s track record. He has been a starting pitcher throughout his career, and he was outstanding today. So we’ll talk about it here in the next few days.”