SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners notes: Pitchers fight control issues but Marmolejos shines in OF

Mar 1, 2020, 4:32 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2020, 8:09 am
Mariners RHP Kendall Graveman...
Kendall Graveman worked out of a jam and threw a 1-2-3 second inning for the Mariners. (Getty)
(Getty)

Quick hits from the Mariners’ 7-3 loss to the Cubs on Sunday:

Previous M’s notebook: A different approach to bench with 26-man roster

• Kendall Graveman was not quite as sharp as his first outing but still got good work in. He got out of a bases-loaded, self-inflicted jam in the first, then came back with a 1-2-3 second inning.

Graveman threw 46 pitches in two innings, giving up one hit, hitting a batter, walking one and striking out three.

Early on there were signs that he might be a little amped up facing his former team – he spent 2019 on the Cubs roster rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery – as he hit 96 mph a few times on the radar gun.

“I think the first inning it was coming out pretty firm,” he said with a laugh. “The velo was up a tick. I was excited to be out there. I think moving forward it is something to focus on, is to continue to make pitches even when the moment is big and take breaths.”

While his arm felt good, the command wasn’t there at the upper velocities. Graveman said that before his surgery the velocity had been increasing but that he realizes that’s not who he is as a pitcher and that hitters can hit 96-plus.

“I was excited to see where it was but at the same time you have got to pitch,” he said. “For me that’s been my M.O. – location, location, location. If that means taking a few mph off, I’m understanding that’s myself. That’s my identity, now it is going out and executing.”

All in all a very decent outing for a pitcher 18 and a half months post-Tommy John surgery, and it came against the Cubs’ ‘A’ lineup.

“I was able to keep moving forward and put up two zeroes. That’s a positive,” said Graveman. “It was good to be out in competition. Sometimes it goes that way, you have got to work your way out of some jams and figure out how to compete. It’s been a long time so it was good to hit that switch and ‘let’s get out of this’ with no runs.”

• Graveman wasn’t the only Mariners pitcher who had command issues Sunday. Mariners pitchers issued eight walks on the day, hit a batter and threw three wild pitches.

“Walks, we didn’t do a very good job today controlling the zone,” Mariners manager Scott Servais acknowledged. “We are going to have a few of these days as we run young pitching out there, but we have got to do a better job controlling the zone.”

Servais did point out that it was good to face the Cubs’ big leaguers for Sam Delaplane, who started last season at High-A Modesto and went on to put up an 0.49 ERA in 32.1 innings at Arkansas. Delaplane walked the bases loaded in the third inning but was able to come away unscathed.

• As mentioned in the morning notebook, the competition for the bench spots appears to be heating up. Servais was interested to see what José Marmolejos could do in the outfield, and he came through. First he robbed Kris Bryant of a double in the third inning with a sliding catch on the warning track in left, then threw out a runner at home two innings later.

“I thought Marmo played really well out there,” said Servais. “It’s really an added bonus if he can run out there and we feel comfortable putting him out there.”

• With Graveman’s scoreless outing, Mariners starters have surrendered just two earned runs in their last seven games.

• The Mariners will be back in Peoria on Monday to host the Rockies. Justus Sheffield will get the start.

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Check out Shannon’s Get To Know Your Mariners series

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• OF Jake Fraley could be the gem of Zunino trade
• If anyone can relate to top Mariners prospects, it’s Taijuan Walker
• Julio Rodriguez looks the part of future superstar on and off the field

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