Mariners-Tigers preview

BY foxsports • June 23, 2016

DETROIT -- The Seattle Mariners and their lefty-laden lineup get their first look Wednesday night at red-hot right-handed rookie Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers.

Fulmer, obtained from the New York Mets at the trade deadline last July, is 7-2 with a 2.43 ERA in 10 starts.

He had a 33 1/3 scoreless innings streak stopped in his last start when he hung a slider and Kansas City's Salvador Perez hit it for a home run. It was the second-longest scoreless innings streak by a rookie starting pitcher since 1971.

The Royals handed him his second loss although he only gave up the one run in 5 2/3 innings.

Fulmer is not expected to pitch again until June 29 as manager Brad Ausmus revampeds his rotation.

Left-hander Daniel Norris is being called up Thursday to pitch against Seattle with Jordan Zimmermann working Friday against Cleveland. Anibal Sanchez returns to the rotation for at least one start Saturday, and Justin Verlander takes his regular turn Sunday.

Detroit is off Monday and Mike Pelfrey, given a couple extra days rest, pitches Tuesday. Fulmer may return to the rotation against Miami the following day.

What the Mariners will see in Fulmer is an unusually poised pitcher who picks up things quickly.

Fulmer had some wobbles in his first four starts but in his fifth fanned 11 Tampa Bay Rays by heavily incorporating his changeup into his pitching mix. Things kind of took off from there for a pitcher who had previously been primarily a fastball/slider pitcher.

His fastball touches 97-98 mph but Fulmer learned from there that less can be more on the pitching mound. Pitching to spots and inducing contact early in the count have cut his pitch count down.

Fulmer relies on first-pitch strikes and Kansas City was ambushing his first offering. It wasn't long before the rookie went to sliders and changeups on his first pitch.

Verlander has taken on the task of mentoring the rookie, starting in spring training when the youngster came to him for advice after outings.

"I'd say 'Ver' has a little more fire," manager Brad Ausmus of Detroit said, "whereas Fulmer is more calm. Fulmer doesn't throw a curveball but his other three pitches are similar."

Seattle counters with right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 4.18 ERA) as manager Scott Servais tries to help his team get through a period when starters are injured.

"The guys know we're going through a tough stretch," Servais said. "But the guys still want to be the guy to steps up and gets the big hit.

"It's been a long road trip and I'm going to mix in some days (off) for some guys at the end of the trip."



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