By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
BOSTON — Danny Farquhar was ready to get back on the mound on Thursday. It didn’t matter that he’d thrown a season-high three complete innings of spotless relief the night before in the Seattle Mariners’ 5-4 loss in 15 innings to the Boston Red Sox.
If acting manager Robby Thompson needed him to pitch on Thursday, he’d do it. No questions asked.
“I was pretty efficient on my pitches,” he said. “I think I threw 39. I’ve always been a guy that bounces back pretty well. They used to say I have a rubber arm in high school. I played outfield, pitched, sometimes I would catch. Recovery isn’t an issue with me.”
Of course, Thompson wasn’t even thinking about using Farquhar unless it was absolutely necessary.
“Danny has worked hard over the last week,” Thompson said. “He’s another guy who says he’s ready to go and is champing at the bit. But the smart thing is to stay away from him unless it’s an emergency situation.”
Farquhar was really good for the Mariners on Wednesday, pitching three hitless, shutout inning and striking out four.
Over his last five outings, he’s pitched 91/3 scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out 15, while walking four. The recent run of success came after a little chat with veteran catcher Henry Blanco.
“I had a little rough spell a couple weeks ago,” Farquhar said. “And he said, ‘With your stuff you need to start pounding hitters in.’ And I really took it to heart and I started applying it. A lot of my success is due to Henry’s talk with me.”
Farquhar admitted he was getting a little too comfortable just pitching away to hitters. It’s something that can happen to pitchers at the big league level. It became predictable and led to poor results.
“I have noticed that relievers like to tend to stay away in general,” he said. “Away is a very safe part of the zone. But if you live away, they are going to hit you hard. They are just going to sit away.”
So with Blanco’s urging he started busting hitters inside with his mid-90s fastball and hard cut fastball and then showing the slow curveball to keep them off balance.
“I was mostly going along with what’s comfortable for me instead of making a conscious effort to make hitters uncomfortable in the box,” Farquhar said. “But the talk really woke me up.”
15 innings takes its toll
After a 5-hour, 15-inning game, the Mariners lineup looked a little different on Thursday night. Thompson decided to rest 41-year-old Raul Ibanez, who played all 15 innings of the loss.
Ibanez’s hot bat has cooled after the All-Star break. He is hitting .159 (7-for-44) with two doubles and 17 strikeouts. The Mariners are making an effort to get him some time off. Of course, Ibanez didn’t think he needed it.
“He said he felt great and was ready to go,” Thompson said pregame. “But I think the smart thing was to give him a day. We’re going to get in late tonight and early morning and he’ll be back in there tomorrow. But we have to be smart with him. He is in great shape and he’s rarin’ to go and it’s hard to keep him out of there, but I think it’s the right thing to do to give him a day.”
Humberto Quintero also got a day off after catching all 15 innings.
“He did a great job,” Thompson said. “We’ve got Henry in there today and will go back to Humberto tomorrow.”
Michael Morse was also out of the lineup. The Mariners are trying to be proactive in keeping him healthy after he missed a month with a quad strain.