CHICAGO -- The Mariners remain bullish on right-handed reliever Steve Delabar, but want the 28-year-old to work on adding another pitch to his arsenal in Triple-A Tacoma after optioning him to the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.
Opposing hitters were batting just .200 against Delabar and he had an impressive 31 strikeouts and seven walks in 24 1/3 innings with a 1.03 WHIP. But seven of the 18 hits he'd given up were home runs, which is why his ERA was sitting at 5.11 and he's now pitching in Tacoma.
"We want Delabar to work on a couple things, his slider and direction with the fastball and leveraging the baseball," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He's so big and tall and throws so hard, it would just flatten out now and then and that's when he gets in trouble with the long ball.
"So when he really leverages the ball down, which I think will help his slider, too, then you get the best of both worlds. So we're going to have him go down there and work on those things."
Left-handers hit just .108 (4-for-37) with no home runs against the 6-foot-5 righty, while right-handers hit .264 (14-for-53) with seven home runs. That's where the need for an improved slider comes in, according to pitching coach Carl Willis.
"He needs a third pitch, particularly to right-handed hitters," Willis said. "He's got a power fastball, but the ball tended to creep up in the zone against right-handers and he supplied the power. So we really want to maintain some downhill plane with that fastball and be more consistent in the bottom of the zone with it.
"Hitters have seen more of him now and knowing he's a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball and split, they're just going up there with the idea of getting the ball up in the zone. And once he gets it up, he supplies the velocity and they put an under-control swing on it and it travels."
Wedge hoping offense sees carryover effect
CHICAGO -- When the Mariners beat Texas, 21-8, on Wednesday, they jumped from 22nd to 16th in the Majors in total runs scored and from 26th to 18th in runs per game.
The 21 runs, which tied for the second-most in franchise history, came on the heels of a 10-run outing on Tuesday, as Seattle's offense hit on all cylinders against the American League West-leading Rangers.
This is the same Mariners team that endured a perfect game at the hands of Philip Humber when the White Sox visited Safeco Field five weeks earlier. They became just the second team in MLB history (Buffalo in 1880, according to Elias Sports Bureau) to score 20 or more runs in a game in the same season they had a perfect game thrown against them.
Manager Eric Wedge is counting on the uptick to put a renewed hop in the Mariners' steps against a White Sox team that had won eight straight before the weekend series.
"I hope so," Wedge said of a carryover effect. "You should develop a greater sense of confidence from that type of success, both individually and as an offensive team. Especially playing against a team like that with that type of pitching staff and in their backyard. There were a lot of outstanding things that happened [in Texas] that these guys should be able to draw from."
The Mariners had played more road games (31) than any other Major League team going into Friday's game at U.S. Cellular Field and will be at 37 by the time their current road trip ends on Wednesday in Anaheim, with only 22 home contests in the books.
Seattle came into the White Sox series with just 21 errors in 53 games, tied for second-fewest in the Majors behind the Yankees' 20. The Mariners had the best fielding percentage in baseball at .989.
Justin Smoak hit .319 with nine runs, six home runs and 17 RBIs over his previous 18 games entering Friday's play.