Mariners reliever George Sherrill goes by feel – and puts trust in his catcher

NOTEBOOK: George Sherrill relies on 2 pitches, his catcher

Staff writerApril 10, 2012 

When the Seattle Mariners prepared for a four-game series with the Texas Rangers, left-handed pitcher George Sherrill knew most of what he needed.

“I’m in the process of re-learning the American League, and I didn’t pay much attention to who went where in the offseason,” Sherrill said. “But I know the Rangers still have Josh Hamilton, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland …”

All three of those are left-handed hitters, and Sherrill knows beginning every series he might be asked to work through righties and lefties – but the odds are he’ll face a left-hander late in the game.

Maybe the same left-hander multiple times during a series.

“I’m not a big video guy, and I’ve got two pitches, a fastball and a slider,” Sherrill said. “It’s not like I have four or five pitches to choose from. I go by feel.

“I read the scouting reports, and I know I might face the same guy – maybe Hamilton – three or four times in the series with men on base.”

Sherrill said he believes wins, losses and earned-run average are poor stats by which to judge a reliever, especially a specialist.

“I think the percentage of inherited runners you don’t let score is important – I know my goal is always 80 percent. My approach in the game is that every pitch is my responsibility,” Sherrill said.

“But I usually throw what the catcher calls. He’s studied the hitters and he knows how they’ve looked all night. He probably has a better feel.”

And then?

“Then it’s about execution. I usually don’t hit the catcher’s glove, but I get the job done with what I’ve got.”

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE

An Easter Sunday seafood dinner caused Jesus Montero to show up with a stomach rumbling too much to play.

That left manager Eric Wedge with a choice of players to use at designated hitter. He chose Dustin Ackley, and put left-handed hitting Munenori Kawasaki in the lineup at second base.

Why?

First, Kawasaki had faced Texas starter Yu Darvish before. Second, reserves Alex Liddi and Casper Wells are right-handed hitters. It came down to Kawasaki or left-handed hitting catcher John Jaso.

Wedge went with the man who faced Darvish before.

SHORT HOPS

When Lucas Luetge’s major league debut resulted in a three-pitch strikeout of Oakland’s Josh Reddick on Saturday, he was the second member of the Mariners to do so since 1997. The first? Michael Pineda, last April. … Felix Hernandez celebrated his 26th birthday Sunday, having made 207 big-league starts. … Ichiro Suzuki is still adjusting to batting third in the Mariners’ order, but in Texas he has had no problem. In 106 games as a visiting player in Arlington, his seven home runs are the most he’s hit in any road ballpark. … Chone Figgins went 6-for-9 in the two games in Oakland, with a double, triple, stolen base and four RBI. … Wedge said the plans on both outfielders Mike Carp and Franklin Gutierrez are to send each on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues before bringing them off the disabled list. Wedge said Gutierrez will need more time than Carp.

ON TAP

Seattle and Texas play today at 5:05 p.m. (PDT), a game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Seattle’s Blake Beavan vs. Neftali Feliz.

larry.larue@thenewstribune.com
blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners

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