After missing the first five months of the season on the disabled list, reliever Evan Scribner has been one of the Mariners' best relievers in September. His fresh arm and ability to throw strikes has provided a big lift in the bullpen. Also notes on Jesus Montero's suspension and postseason ticket sales
Edwin Diaz has the 100 mph fastball and nasty slider that leaves opponents overwhelmed. Steve Cishek’s submarine sinker and frisbee slider can make right-handed hitters look silly.
But the Mariners’ best reliever down the stretch has been the guy who hadn’t pitched in a big-league game until September.
Right-hander Evan Scribner missed the first five months of the season on the disabled list. Finally healthy, he’s been a valuable piece for manager Scott Servais and the overworked bullpen in the final month of the season.
In the 12-4 victory Wednesday over the Astros at Minute Maid Park, Scribner entered a 7-4 game with runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the tying run at the plate, he calmly retired the next three hitters, striking out Teoscar Hernandez and Tony Kemp and then getting George Springer to ground out to second to end the inning.
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Servais brought Scribner back for the seventh and he worked around a baserunner for a scoreless inning.
“He’s got the ability to do that,” Servais said. “The biggest thing for him, he just throws strikes. “He does not walk people, knock on wood. But the big at-bat, he makes the great pitch to Tony Kemp and has the couple punchouts and gets out of it. We really needed it.”
In 10 appearances, Scribner has not allowed a run over 12 1/3 innings.
“We knew when we acquired him that he was a strike-thrower,” Servais said. “I think what we’re seeing now is he has the freshest arm. It’s been a big boost for bullpen to be able to go to him and not ride (Nick) Vincent.”
The Mariners traded for Scribner in the offseason, sending minor-league pitcher Trey Cochran-Gill in return to the A’s. Scribner was expected to fill a key role in middle relief. But he suffered a torn lat in spring training. He spent most of the season at the Mariners’ facility in Arizona rehabbing and trying come back from the injury.
“It’s tough,” Scribner said. “It was pretty frustrating. I watched every game when I was there, but it’s still hard to watch everybody else playing and having fun and winning and I’m stuck doing nothing. But I stayed on it, got through the rehab and I’m happy to be back here.”
It wasn’t a smooth road back. Scribner suffered a few setbacks in his recovery and began to wonder if he would ever be healthy again.
“It’s always a question,” he said. “The injury was pretty significant so there were definitely times when I didn’t know how I would come back or if I would ever come back. There’s good days and bad days. Luckily toward the end I started having a lot more good days and everything started to smooth out and now I’m good to go.”
He needs to be good, coming back in the middle of a push for the postseason.
“It’s awesome,” he said “It’s hard to describe. I’m still kind of happy just to be playing. I have a different perspective on this team than everybody else, just watching every day on TV while I was in Arizona rehabbing. It’s really fun playing with a team you were watching on TV.
Wild Card notes
The Orioles’ victory Wednesday night in Toronto on Hyun Soo Kim’s homer in the ninth inning might have saved their season.
The Tigers and Indians game Wednesday was shortened to five innings. The game Thursday was rained out. That game will be made up Monday if needed.
So what does that do for a possible play-in game for the Mariners?
Well, a Game No. 163 play-in for the wild-card would take place Tuesday and the American League Wild Card game would be pushed back to to Wednesday. The AL Wild Card game winner would then travel immediately to the site of the American League Division Series and likely play on that Thursday.
The Mariners hold tiebreakers with the Orioles and Blue Jays — meaning if they were tied with either team for the second wild-card spot, a game No. 163 would be held at Safeco Field. If the Mariners and Tigers finished tied for the second wild-card spot, Seattle would travel to Comerica Park, having lost the season series.
Jesus Montero suspended by MLB
Former Mariners’ designated hitter/first baseman Jesus Montero was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for dimethylbutylamine (DMBA), a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Montero played the entire season with Class AAA Buffalo in the Blue Jays organization and will serve the suspension at the beginning of next season. This is the second-PED related suspension for Montero. In August of 2013, Montero accepted a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal. He was one of several players suspended for their connection to the Miami clinic.
The Mariners acquired Montero, who was at the time considered to be a top hitting prospect, in exchange for pitcher Michael Pineda. Montero never lived up to expectations. He dealt with the PED suspension, weight issues and a confrontation with a Mariners scout in the stands of a minor- league game. Montero was suspended by the team for the remainder of the season. That offseason, he shed 70 pounds from his frame in an effort to resuscitate his career. While he produced at the Class AAA level, he never found success at the big-league level. Out of minor league options this spring, he was designated for assignment by the Mariners and claimed by the Blue Jays.
He hit .317 with a .787 on-base plus slugging percentage for Buffalo this season.
Postseason tickets go on sale
Single-game tickets for postseason games that the Seattle Mariners might play at Safeco Field will be available for sale starting at noon Friday.
Tickets for a Wild-Card game and two American League Division Series games (that could be played at Safeco Field if the Mariners advance) will be available only at Mariners.com/Tickets and by phone at 888-SEA-HITS (732-4487).
Due to tiebreaker games and weather, the American League Wild-Card game is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4, and Games 3 and 4 of the American League Division Series are scheduled for Oct. 9-10.
All postseason tickets for games that are not played will be refunded.
Information about tickets for a possible tiebreaker game at Safeco Field will be released only if it is determined the game is necessary.
From the Twitter account of Kyle Lewis, the Mariners first-round draft pick, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Batter vs. starting pitcher matchups
Mariners numbers vs. A’s righthander Kendall Graveman
On this day in Mariners’ history
- 1983 – Bill Caudill struck out 3 Kansas City batters in 1.2 innings to record his 25th save, as the Mariners topped the Royals, 5-4, in the Kingdome.
- 1988 – Mark Langston pitched a club-record 34.1 consecutive scoreless innings beginning Sept. 14 and ending on this day when Texas scored one run off him. For his outstanding performance this month, Mark was named AL Pitcher of the Month and the Mariners Player of the Month for September.
- 1989 – Seattle lost a wild one, 10-7, to Minnesota in 11 innings. The Twins rapped out 24 hits in the contest—only five of which went for extra-bases. Starting ace Scott Bankhead and stopper Mike Schooler surrendered a combined 18 hits on the night.
- 1995 – The Mariners post their 43rd come-from-behind win of the year 5-4 at Texas. The magic number is one. Consecutive sacrifice flies by Edgar Martinez and Tino Martinez erase a 3-2 deficit in the eighth inning. Norm Charlton picks up his 14th save.