By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon searched for adjectives prior to Tuesday’s game to characterize his bullpen. The word he settled for was “historical.”
And he’s right … at this point in the season, anyway.
The Mariners’ relief corps entered Tuesday’s game against Toronto at Safeco Field with an ERA of 2.33.
If it stays there, it would be the lowest bullpen ERA for any American League club over a complete season since use of the designated hitter began in 1973 — 42 years.
“The thing about our bullpen, if you really think about it,” McClendon said, “is we added two veterans in (lefty specialist) Joe Beimel and (All-Star closer Fernando) Rodney.
“Everybody else was able to be slotted into, probably, the proper roles — where they weren’t overexposed; they weren’t overused. As a result, they’ve been fantastic.
“Now, did I think they were going to be this good? No. This is historical-type stuff that we’re doing now. It’s been pretty special to watch.”
Currently, the distinction of having the best bullpen ERA over a complete season belongs to the 1990 Oakland A’s at 2.35. After that, it’s a long drop to second place: Last year’s Kansas City Royals at 2.55.
The Mariners are even within range of catching the 1981 New York Yankees who, in a strike-shortened year, finished at 2.26.