SEATTLE — Ask right-hander Brandon Maurer about finding a comfort zone in the Seattle Mariners’ bullpen, and it prompts a wide smile as he offers a quick explanation.
“I’m having fun,” he said. “Earlier in the season, I wasn’t having fun.”
For “fun” read “dominant.”
Maurer, 24, has pitched 15 scoreless innings over 10 appearances since his June 25 recall from Triple-A Tacoma. He has allowed just six hits and two walks in that span while striking out 17.
Contrast that with seven starts earlier in the year: 1-4 with a 7.52 ERA while allowing 43 hits and 14 walks in 321/3 innings. Five of those 23 hits were homers.
“He has less to think about as a reliever,” manager Lloyd McClendon suggested. “He just goes after guys. His stuff is plenty good enough. His stuff has never been an issue.”
Pitchers often trim back their repertoire when they shift to the bullpen, but Maurer said he’s continuing to use all four of his pitches. The results are just … better.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m having fun.”