The first half in review- pitchers

Jul 2, 2012, 2:07 PM

The first half of the season is officially in the books and every single player will be reviewed, pitchers first.

Felix Hernandez- 6-5 3.09– Questions circled early in the season regarding his velocity and a typically tough May fanned the flames (2-3 4.45 ERA). Despite the questions, The King has put together another great half-season. He has been crowned with another trip to the All-Star game and he is third in the AL with 114 K’s. He is also 4th in the AL in innings pitched and he has only coughed up 2 ER runs in his last three starts spanning 23 innings. He is the King.

2nd Half Outlook- More outings that reflect royalty.

Jason Vargas- 7-7 4.31 ERA– Vargas has quietly pitched the second most innings in the AL. Justin Verlander from Detroit has tossed 123.2 and Vargas is sitting at 117. Vargas has had another solid 1st half using Safeco Field to his advantage- 2.84 ERA in 57 innings at home versus 5.70 ERA in 60 innings on the road. His overall numbers would look even more impressive if you remove the 10 ER he gave up in Arizona three starts ago. He has also given up the most homers in the AL with 22.

2nd Half Outlook- It will be a very interesting second half for Vargas as he will look to tame the second half demons that have plagued him in the past. He sports a 4.15 career ERA before the All-Star break and a hefty 5.07 in the second half.

Hector Noesi- 2-10 5.69– Noesi has been riding the roller coaster in 2012. He has shown flashes of brilliance this season- 5 total runs given up in 5 combined starts. He has also been severely knocked around at times- 5 or more runs given up in 7 starts. He has strangely been plagued by giving up hits in favorable pitching counts. On 0-2 counts this year batters are hitting .308 against him and have swatted 4 homers. In MLB this year hitters are .147 in 0-2 counts. Noesi has given up the third most homers in the AL with 19.

2nd Half Outlook- He has shown enough flashes to stay in the rotation. He will work to develop a killer instinct in favorable counts and try and become more consistent with his command. Consistency is the goal for the second half of the season.

Kevin Millwood- 3-6 4.00– Millwood has been a steady part of the rotation in the first half highlighted by starting a no-hitter and throwing a complete game 2-hitter at Colorado. He gave up only two runs through four May starts against the Yankees, Rockies, Rangers and Rangers. He has struggled with a groin injury of late, but that does not diminish his surprise first half.

2nd Half Outlook- It is hard to imagine his second half could be better than his first. The Mariners will continue to look for veteran leadership and innings from the long-time pro.

Blake Beavan- 3-6 5.92– He outpitched his peripherals last season, but has not had the same sort of luck this year. He gave up 77 hits in 62.1 IP while giving up 12 homers before being sent down. He only walked 11, but only fanned 30.

2nd Half Outlook- There is a good chance he will get another crack at the M’s rotation before the year is out. He pitches to contact, but it is necessary to hold opponents to less than 11 hits per 9 innings like he is giving up this year.

Erasmo Ramirez- 0-2 3.82– He made the club out of spring training and pitched out of the bullpen before heading down to Tacoma to stretch out his arm. He opened eyes two starts ago by only giving up one run in 8 innings to the A’s while fanning 10. He came into the game with 12 career punch outs. Unfortunately, his brilliant beginning against Boston was cut-short (2.2 scoreless) and he has landed on the DL with right-elbow issues.

2nd Half Outlook- Health will be the priority for the rookie heading into the second half. The M’s will be careful with the promising pitcher. Upside- the M’s will get a chance to see the same dynamic stuff he unveiled against the A’s for 8 to 10 starts in the second half. Downside- he will spend the second half struggling with his elbow and his innings will be very limited.

Brandon League- 0-5 3.60– It was a solid start to the season followed by a familiar early season hiccup for League. The difference between this year and the last couple is that League has continued to wobble since his tough May. Following his EAR month by month looks like this- 3.00/ 6.48/ 2.03/ 27.00. His command has been a big issue this year. He has walked 16 batters this year in 35 innings after issuing just 10 free passes last year in 61.1 IP. His hits per 9 are up, his walks per 9 are way up and his K’s per 9 is down. This is not the trifecta you want to hit. His velocity is a tick down as well.

2nd Half Outlook- The second half for League could go one of several ways. With free-agency pending there is a good chance he could be dealt at the deadline to a team looking for pen depth. He could slide into a deep funk, thus dealing his value a death-blow. It is also possible he could recover his gains from a year ago, but that would probably lead to him being dealt anyways.

Tom Wilhelmsen- 3-1 2.57– He has been lights out. Wilhelmsen is currently working on an 18 2/3 scoreless innings streak. He was not scored on in June at all and has not been touched since taking the closer role. He has been completely filthy. The flame-thrower is averaging 95.8mph on his fastball and his wicked curve is buckling the knees of hitters all over baseball. He has punched out 51 batters in 41 innings.

2nd Half Outlook- He looks poised to keep the closer role and continue to dominate the American League.

Charlie Furbush- 4-1 1.82– It would not be a shocker if Furbush was named to the All-Star team at some point this week. It would have been a shocker if you would have made that prediction before the year started. Furbush has found his niche in the pen. He has not been scored on since May 15th. He has fanned 45 and only walked 8. He has only been taken dip twice and his WHIP is a sparkly 0.69. He is throwing 1 mph harder out of the pen and is crushing both lefties and righties.

2nd Half Outlook- He will continue to be a big arm out of the pen while pitching in high leverage situations anywhere from the 3rd to the 8th.

Steve Delabar-1-1 4.78– He has been a frequent passenger of the 1-5 shuttle this season. Homers have been his issue. He has given up 7 in 26.1 innings which has ballooned his ERA to 4.78. He has stuck out 34 which is good and he is giving up 6.2 hits per 9.

2nd Half Outlook- If he can cut down on the long-balls he can be an effective arm out of the pen in the second half.

Lucas Luetge- 1-0 1.71– The Rule 5 surprise. He was not scored on for the first 2 ½ months of his MLB career. He has primarily been used as a lefty-specialist in the first half, but he has been gaining trust in recent weeks to face hitters from the opposite side. Lefties are only hitting .150 off him and they do not have an extra-base hit.

2nd Half Outlook- He will continue to serve as the lefty-specialist with occasional cameos against righties. There is a great chance he won’t repeat his numbers from the first half, but he can still serve an important function in an effective bullpen.

Hisashi Iwakuma- 1-1 4.75– The long-man out of the pen will get his first MLB career start tonight. He has been very useful in his role so far. He only pitched twice in April and three times in May, but appeared nine times in June. He has gone over 2 innings 8 times and posted a 3.52 in June.

2nd Half Outlook- He was signed to be a starter and he will get his first chance tonight. It is hard to project exactly what will happen with Iwakuma. He could take his opportunity and run with it for the rest of the season or he could slide back to his long-role and finish the year there eating up innings. We will start to get those answers tonight.

Shawn Kelley- 2-2 3.57– Kelley gave up a homer in Japan and was not seen again until May. Kelley has already thrown 22.2 Big League innings this year after 12.2 last year and 25 the season before that.

2nd Half Outlook- Kelley seems to be fully healthy for the first time in a couple of years and should continue to eat up innings where needed out of the pen.

Oliver Perez- 0-0 1.42– Perez is a nice story. He made it back to the Majors after a couple of very difficult years. In a small sample size he has been effective fanning 6 in 6.1. He is throwing gas, but control will probably be an issue at some point.

2nd Half Outlook- His spot in the majors is somewhat reliant of the health of the players around him, unless he continues at the pace he is at.

Stephen Pryor- 1-0 1.69– He burst onto the scene with his mid to high 90’s fastball. He gave up a run in his first outing, but went scoreless after that. He had already worked his way into high leverage situations just a handful of games into his career. He has been on the DL since June 13th.

2nd Half Outlook- The M’s will be careful with the youngster. He looks to be a big part of the future bullpen.

George Sherrill- 0-0- 27.00– Remember when he was on the roster.

2nd Half Outlook- Out for the year.

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The first half in review- pitchers