Pitchers are short-arming their starts

The Sports Xchange

If the Seattle Mariners don't start getting more from their starting pitching, they're going to decimate their bullpen.

June has seen the Seattle starters go on some kind of limited work stoppage.

In 19 games, the Mariners have seen their starters go five innings or less a dozen times, including the last three games.

In Friday's 9-5 loss in San Diego, Kevin Millwood went five innings. He wouldn't have gone that long if manager Eric Wedge hadn't wanted to stay away from some of his overworked relievers, particularly Hisashi Iwakuma and Shawn Kelley.

Millwood was given a 4-0 lead, but his pitches were up and he was hit hard, particularly in a five-run fourth inning that carried the Padres from behind to ahead. Wedge didn't feel he wanted to burn through his bullpen one more time, so he left it to Millwood to limp through five innings. The damage could have been worse, but Millwood got an out with the bases loaded in the fifth to keep the damage from getting completely out of hand.

"When the starting pitchers are struggling, that makes it tough," Wedge said. "It's tough to go get somebody in the fourth inning.

"We wanted to stay away from Kelley. And if we'd pitched Iwakuma, it would have been three times in four games for him. We're still trying to build him up."

Seattle starters were good at getting deep into the game in April and May, but that talent has escaped them this month.

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