M’s Notes: Wilhelmsen loses closer role

BALTIMORE — When the Seattle Mariners find themselves in another save situation, Tom Wilhelmsen won’t be taking the mound for them to secure the win.

For the second time this season, Wilhelmsen has lost his closing job.

Acting manager Robby Thompson met with pitching coach Carl Willis before Friday’s game in Baltimore and made the decision to try someone other than Wilhelmsen in save situations.

“As of right now, maybe like we’ve done in the past, we’ll try to piece it together and match up,” Thompson said. “And we’ll go from there.”

Wilhelmsen was called on to pitch the ninth inning with a 7-2 lead Thursday against Boston. He faced four batters but got no outs. He walked the leadoff hitter, gave up a single and a double and then walked another batter. It set in motion the ninth-inning meltdown by the Mariners’ bullpen, leading to an improbable 8-7 loss.

“Those games that are like that and even in closer games where we’ve got the lead, we’ve got to try to find a way to win that ballgame,” Thompson said.

So now he will use right-handers Danny Farquhar and Yoervis Medina and lefties Oliver Perez and Charlie Furbush.

It’s the same philosophy that manager Eric Wedge employed when he stripped Wilhelmsen of his closing duties on June 13, the day after imploding against the Houston Astros, giving up five runs on three hits with two walks in 2/3 of an inning.

It was the final straw in a bad run of pitching that started with a blown save in Cleveland when he dropped the final out of the game while trying to cover first base. He blew another save in Minnesota, picked up a few shaky saves and then blew two more leads. The Astros loss forced Wedge to take action.

Thompson’s decision wasn’t based solely on Wilhelmsen’s implosion on Thursday. No, Wilhelmsen had been skirting through trouble in even his best outings.

Still, in his last 10 appearances he’s notched six saves. But they’ve been shaky. In those 10 outings, only twice has he had clean innings, while allowing 11 hits and eight runs with nine walks over that span.

It’s a far cry from the Wilhelmsen that started the season. He was nearly flawless in his first 17 appearances. He saved 11 games and allowed one run in 18 innings. Opponents had just six hits in 65 plate appearances against him.

But the Wilhelmsen that has taken the mound the last few weeks has looked nothing like that. The current Wilhelmsen is tentative and unsure with his fastball, reluctant with his curveball while seeming to be in a perpetual state of discomfort on the mound.

“For me, watching him, he’s pitching with a little bit of a lack of confidence for me and he’s not pounding the strike zone,” Thompson said. “He’s not pounding it with fastballs like he did in the past, to get to his breaking ball, to get to that changeup.”

Wilhelmsen has a fastball that ranges from 95 to 100 mph. But right now, he can’t locate it.

The walks are indicative of that. And once he starts pitching from behind in counts, that hard fastball becomes more hittable if hitters can expect it.

“Tommy is a strong guy and strong-minded,” Thompson said. “I think he’ll be OK, but I think he needs to refocus and get his confidence back in that fastball.”

More in Sports

Lake Stevens girls show grit in 66-58 win over Glacier Peak

The Vikings rally from 13 down at half to take over sole possession of 1st place in Wesco 4A.

Friday’s prep basketball scores, recaps

Once again, a variety of local high school basketball players turned in… Continue reading

Bearcats pull away from Jackson in 79-67 win

Monroe’s Colby Kyle scores 24 points in his return from injury and Spencer Davidson tacks on 21.

Silvertips set to host pair of East Division powerhouses

Brandon and Swift Current make rare appearances in Everett this weekend.

‘Fear’ drives UWs Carter III back to the gym every single day

The freshman PG tries to get in 500 shots a day on his quest to be a success on the floor and in life.

Friday’s prep stars of the night

George Reidy, G, Cedar Park Christian Reidy, a senior, scored 38 of… Continue reading

Everett’s Stephan Erosa, left, competes against Arlington Brantly StupeyThursday night at Arlington High School in Arlington on January 18, 2018. The Eagles won 37-25.(Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Arlington wrestlers scrap to 37-25 win over Everett

Aggressive lineup moves pay off for the Eagles in a big Wesco 3A North win over the Seagulls.

Additions of Murray, Sharp give Silvertips depth

After a ‘crazy busy’ week upon being traded to Everett, the new duo is finally settling in.

Coupeville boys basketball celebrating 101st anniversary Friday

The Coupeville High School boys basketball program is celebrating its… Continue reading

Most Read