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Category: starters
June 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Glimmer of optimism starting to peek through Mariners storm clouds

Safeco Joe no more: Joe Saunders earned his first road victory last night by tossing seven innings of one-run ball against Oakland. The Mariners have produced seven "quality starts" in a row -- the last six of them at least seven-innings in length. Photo Credit: AP

Safeco Joe no more: Joe Saunders earned his first road victory last night by tossing seven innings of one-run ball against Oakland. The Mariners have produced seven “quality starts” in a row — the last six of them at least seven-innings in length. Photo Credit: AP

Lost in all the tumult of the past few days following a Tom Wilhelmsen blown save was something that has quietly gone on with the Mariners’ starting rotation.

For the first time all season, that rotation has finally produced a complete turn of so-called “quality starts” — meaning at least six innings pitched, three runs or fewer allowed in an outing.

In fact, the Mariners have now had seven consecutive quality starts after last night’s 3-2 win credited to Joe Saunders. More importantly, the last six quality starts in a row have been of the seven-inning-or-greater variety.

One of the reasons this news had been overshadowed was that Wilhelmsen’s blown save against the Astros nullified eight scoreless innings by Jeremy Bonderman. Fans don’t tend to notice quality starts when the team loses the game anyway.

On that note, some dismal offensive performances also caused the Mariners to lose games, such as when Felix Hernandez tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the New York Yankees last Sunday, only to lose 2-1. Hernandez takes the mound later this afternoon. Hisashi Iwakuma goes tomorrow. There is a good chance for the quality start roll to continue.

And that is huge in the here and now if the Mariners want to stop their slide and actually turn this season around before it’s too late.

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Comments | More in starters | Topics: joe saunders; felix hernandez; hisashi iwakuma; jeremy bonderman