BOSTON — Danny Farquhar was ready to get back on the mound on Thursday. It didn’t matter that he’d thrown a season-high three innings of spotless relief the night before in the Seattle’s 5-4 loss in 15 innings to Boston.
If Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson needed him to pitch on Thursday, he’d do it. No questions asked.
“I was pretty efficient on my pitches,” Farquhar said. “I think I threw 39. I’ve always been a guy that bounces back pretty well. They used to say I have a rubber arm in high school. I played outfield, pitched, sometimes I would catch. Recovery isn’t an issue with me.”
Of course, Thompson wasn’t even thinking about using Farquhar unless it was absolutely necessary.
“Danny has worked hard over the last week,” Thompson said. “He’s another guy who says he’s ready to go and is champing at the bit. But the smart thing is to stay away from him unless it’s an emergency situation.”
Farquhar was particularly effective Wednesday night, giving up no hits and striking out four.
Over his last five outings, he has pitched 9ª scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out 15, while walking four. The recent run of success came after a little chat with veteran catcher Henry Blanco.
“I had a little rough spell a couple of weeks ago,” Farquhar said. “And he said, ‘With your stuff you need to start pounding hitters in.’ And I really took it to heart and I started applying it. A lot of my success is due to Henry’s talk with me.”
Farquhar admitted he was getting too comfortable pitching away to hitters. It’s a common affliction among big league pitchers, leading to predictability and poor results.
“I have noticed that relievers like to tend to stay away in general,” Farquhar said. “Away is a very safe part of the zone. But if you live away, they are going to hit you hard. They are just going to sit away.”
So with Blanco’s urging, he started busting hitters inside with his mid-90s fastball and hard cut fastball while mixing in a slow curve to keep them off balance.
“I was mostly going along with what’s comfortable for me instead of making a conscious effort to make hitters uncomfortable in the box,” Farquhar said. “But the talk really woke me up.”
EXTRA INNINGS TAKE TOLL
After a 5-hour, 15-inning game, the Seattle batting order looked a little different on Thursday night.
Thompson decided to rest 41-year-old Raul Ibañez, who played all 15 innings of the loss.
Ibañez’s hot bat has cooled since the All-Star break. He hit .159 (7-for-44) with two doubles and 16 strikeouts in the second half of July. The Mariners are making an effort to get him some time off. Of course, Ibañez didn’t think he needed it.
“He said he felt great and was ready to go,” Thompson said before Thursday’s game. “But I think the smart thing was to give him a day. We’re going to get in late tonight and early morning and he’ll be back in there tomorrow. But we have to be smart with him. He is in great shape and he’s rarin’ to go and it’s hard to keep him out of there, but I think it’s the right thing to do to give him a day.”
Humberto Quintero also got a day off after catching all 15 innings.
“He did a great job,” Thompson said. “We’ve got Henry in there today and will go back to Humberto tomorrow.”
Michael Morse was also out of the lineup. The Mariners are trying to be proactive regarding his health after he missed a month with a quad strain.
The Mariners open a three-game series at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles with a 4:05 p.m. game Friday. Right-hander Aaron Harang (5-9, 4.89 ERA) will start for Seattle. Baltimore will field one-time Mariners prospect Chris Tillman (13-3, 3.62 ERA). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.