Mariners’ Scott Servais: Addition of Sean Doolittle, importance of team’s pitching

Aug 27, 2021, 1:33 PM
Mariners Sean Doolittle...
New Mariners reliever Sean Doolittle brings lots of experience to Seattle's bullpen. (Getty)

We’re close to wrapping up the month of August and the Seattle Mariners are firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot as they look to end a long postseason drought.

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The man leading the charge is manager Scott Servais, who joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy and Shannon Drayer for the weekly Scott Servais Show on Thursday.

During the interview, Servais shared his thoughts on the newest addition to his club and much more. Here’s a bit of what the skipper had to say.

New face in the pen

The Mariners made a rather notable move on Thursday, adding two-time All-Star reliever Sean Doolittle off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.

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Servais was very excited about adding a player with Doolittle’s track record to the Mariners’ bullpen.

“We originally saw him back in the day in Oakland and then he was in Washington and most recently with Cincinnati. I just found that out this morning that we claimed him,’ Servais said. “He’s a great addition. He’s got a ton of experience, (he’s) left-handed … I’m excited to have him on board.”

With Doolittle in the fold, the Mariners will now have two southpaws in the bullpen in Doolittle and Anthony Misiewicz.

Seattle’s bullpen has been the unquestioned strength of this team this season, and Doolittle certainly doesn’t hurt that unit during the final month-plus of the year, especially as he has experience pitching in key moments for playoff teams during his 10-year career.

“Certainly you need all the arms you can get coming out of a bullpen and guys that have done it before bring tremendous value,” Servais said. “He’s been in pennant races and the World Series and all kinds of stuff. He’s a really interesting guy and like I said, he’s a welcome addition to our bullpen.”

Late magic wouldn’t happen without strong pitching

The Mariners have been masters when it comes to late-inning magic and winning close games, especially in extras.

A recent example of this came in the team’s most recent road trip, where first baseman Ty France hit game-tying home runs in the ninth inning on back-to-back days.

The exciting hits are obviously huge for the Mariners winning those games, but Servais made it clear that none of that would be possible if not for the pitching.

“None of that stuff happens – the late-inning homers and things like that – if your bullpen, if your pitching staff doesn’t give you a chance, and that’s been a rally underlying key to our entire season is what our pitching staff is doing,” Servais said. “Most recently the last two or three weeks our starting pitching has been outstanding, and really the bullpen all year has given us a chance to stay close enough in those games that you can get something going or get the big hit from Ty France.

“That’s the beauty of this team, everybody has chipped in and everybody when they name has been called, they’ve stepped up and got it done.”

Mariners’ character

Not only has the pitching been key when it comes to the Mariners winning these very close games, but the team’s character has been on full display. Servais couldn’t say enough about the mental makeup of his ballclub.

“We’re really not going away. We find a way to hang in a lot of close games,” he said. “And to our players’ credit, we execute very well late in games and we’ve pulled a lot of those games out. Sometimes people think we’re pulling them out of a hat, but there is a plan and our guys are doing a heck of a job with it.”

“The character of our club, I can’t say enough about the fact that they really enjoy each other, they enjoy playing the game, as we’ve said all year long, we’re focused on getting better every day and (as we near September), we’re still focused on getting better,” Servais added. “… Credit to our players. They come to work every day, they’re ready to compete and I love being around this group.”

Listen to the full Scott Servais Show at this link or in the player below.

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Mariners’ Scott Servais: Addition of Sean Doolittle, importance of team’s pitching