Much of the Seattle Mariners' success in their attempted climb back to .500 can be credited to the rotation. The starting pitchers have gone 17-6 with a 2.59 ERA and 23 quality starts in the last 32 games.
Felix Hernandez has won his last eight starts, including throwing the franchise's first perfect game. When Jason Vargas starts, the Mariners have won seven of the last eight times out, and the lefty has a 1.98 ERA in that stretch. Blake Beavan has gone 5-1 and has lowered his ERA by a full point since returning from the minor leagues. Hisashi Iwakuma, the former long man in the bullpen, has gone 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his last seven starts.
However, it would be a mistake to overlook the relievers and the role they have had in the team's recent success, which has seen Seattle go an American League-best 25-13 since the All-Star break.
The bullpen hasn't allowed a run in the last 14 2/3 innings since Aug. 18. Over a longer stretch, the relief corps has a 1.46 ERA (four earned runs, 24 2/3 innings) while limiting hitters to a .176 batting average.
Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has taken the place of the since-traded Brandon League and has used a devastating fastball to post a 1.11 ERA since moving into the ninth-inning role on June 4. He has saves in 19 of 21 chances.
Two veterans, right-hander Josh Kinney and lefty Oliver Perez, have injected some stability into the bullpen. Kinney's ERA is 4.40, but he's stranded all six batters he's inherited. Perez has not allowed a run in his last 14 games.
Two rookie right-handers, Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps, have come up and his lit up radar guns, touching 100 mph in their first go-around in the majors. Rookie lefty Lucas Luetge didn't allow a run in his first 25 games, and he has a 2.43 ERA in 51 games.
Lefty Charlie Furbush, a second-year performer, has five wins and a 2.02 ERA despite spending four weeks on the disabled list with a left triceps strain.