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Tom Wilhelmsen out as Mariners closer

Aug 2, 2013, 7:45 PM EDT

Tom Wilhelmsen AP

Last night’s soul-crushing loss to the Red Sox resulted in a demotion for Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen. The 29-year-old right-hander entered with a 7-2 lead, seemingly an easy finish to an easy game. He faced four hitters, allowing a walk, a single, a double, and another walk before being lifted. As other Mariner relievers — Oliver Perez and Yoervis Medina — failed to get the job done, Wilhelmsen was charged with four runs, raising his ERA to 4.37. The Red Sox eventually walked off 8-7 winners on Daniel Nava‘s 8-7 single to center. As Dave Cameron pointed out on Twitter last night, the Mariners were 99 percent favorites to win, and they lost.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times informs us that Wilhelmsen is now out as the Mariners closer for the foreseeable future.

The team has not named an official interim closer. Interim manager Robby Thompson said, “We’ll try to piece it together and match up. And we’ll go from there.”

Wilhelmsen started off the season in fine fashion, carrying an 0.75 ERA through the end of May. Since June, however, he has an 8.10 ERA with an 18-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 23 and one-third innings. It’s not just Wilhelmen, though. Over the last 30 days, the Mariner bullpen as a whole has a 5.44 ERA, outpaced only by the Astros at 5.83. Demoting Wilhelmsen, while a good idea for the right-hander’s mental health, is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  1. 18thstreet - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    From Mr. Gammons:

    July 30, '97, M's led 7-2 in 8th @ Fenway. Sox scored 5 in 8th-9th, won 8-7 in 10, next day traded Heathcliff Slocumb for Varitek, Lowe— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) August 2, 2013

  2. spacemaker101 - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    So who is gonna close now?

    • Bill Baer - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:00 PM

      Sounds like they’re going to play match-ups. Sorry for not making that clear in the article.

    • yahmule - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      I would love to see them give Danny (50 Ks in 33 IP) Farquhar a chance, but I expect we’ll see the dreaded committee.

      • hawkforlife - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:27 PM

        I agree wholeheartedly. The committee approach never works. More importantly, drop the silly pitch count limit and let a horse like Felix pitch!

      • jwbiii - Aug 3, 2013 at 12:06 AM

        To be fair, it worked for the ’90 Reds. But with Randy Myers, Norm Charlton, and Rod Dibble in their primes, the Reds had more to work with than most, or any, other committee arrangements.

  3. genebulge - Aug 2, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    The whole Mariners whole bull pen sucks and Wilhelmsen is the worst. The bartender couldn’t even pour a glass of beer let alone make a rum and coke. Another wasted great effort by Felix. When you cant hold a 6 run lead for two innings you are in trouble.

  4. fearthehoody - Aug 2, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    One of many problems for my M’s! Cant wait for them to give a huge contract to an over the hill past their prime vet next season

  5. jayteller - Aug 3, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Ok Ok.. does anyone remember what happened the last time the Felix was pitching? Did he not give up the game tying run in the top of the 9th against the Twins? I am guessing that Robbie Thompson left his Horse in there to finish the game, This time.. Pulled him after what 7 to let a bullpen that kept the red sox quiet the night before until the 15th. Yeah the Mariners had 20 LOB that game. SO Robbie pulls Felix.. the Red Sox score 6 when Thompson messes up and asked for the wrong pitcher from the bullpen. We need Wedge back .. We were 4 game under .500 when he got hurt.. We will not win a game on this series.. and dammit that is a 6 game losing streak! Dammit

  6. swyrlpr - Aug 3, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    I’m wondering if Farquhar will get a shot. I really think it’s between him and Furbush. Both have good velocity, both have great K/BB ratios but I think the edge goes to Farquahar as he generates more ground ball outs than Furbush.

    • yahmule - Aug 3, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      And he’s been just lights out lately. In his last 9.2 IP, only four hits and four BB against 15 Ks.

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