SEATTLE -- Blake Beavan has been a different pitcher since he spent a month with Triple-A Tacoma earlier this season. If that wasn't evident in his four straight wins when he rejoined the big league squad in mid-July, the big right-hander has proven it in his last couple of outings.
Beavan has put together back-to-back gems against his hometown Rangers, allowing two runs in seven innings in Texas a week ago and then spinning seven shutout frames Saturday against the American League West leaders. After a 3-7 start, Beavan has evened his record at 10-10 and lowered his ERA from 6.06 to 4.64.
His recent run of success, says pitching coach Carl Willis, comes from a couple of minor mechanical tweaks. Beavan has incorporated a pause into his windup, which Willis calls a mental reminder. He also has maintained a more consistent arm slot.
"The hugest thing he has improved upon is maintaining his arm slot and maintaining the same delivery, no matter whether he's throwing a fastball or throwing a curveball or throwing a slider," Willis said. "Earlier in the year, we worked on trying to do that, maintain that. It's difficult to do things here sometimes when you're trying to go out there and win and compete and give 100 percent."
When Beavan was changing his arm slot with different pitches, it allowed savvy big league hitters to pick up on what was coming.
"If they have a good idea what's coming, it makes it really difficult for the guy on the mound," Willis said. "Also, maintaining that same arm slot, that does allow you to have the spin you're looking for. If you have to manipulate or change slots with each individual pitch, it's going to be a lot more difficult to be consistent with those pitches."
Wedge sees progress by believing in process
SEATTLE -- Eric Wedge talks a lot about the process. The process for a team to go from cellar to contender. The process his Mariners need to follow to find success.
Even as the Mariners are wrapping up a season in which they will finish last in the American League West, the Seattle manager has not wavered in his belief in the process.
"I think that the toughest thing for people to understand is that when you talk about the process, which I talk about a lot, most people have a hard time seeing that," Wedge said. "Then you wake up one day and one of you guys will ask, 'Well, how did you get here?' What the hell man, you've been watching for two years, that's the process. You need to pay attention right now because you don't want to ask that question. If you pay attention right now, when we get there, then you'll understand it that much better."
Wedge admits different parts of the team take longer than others to go through the process. Pitching and defense have carried the Mariners this season, but the offense has lagged a bit. But even as painful as the offensive struggles may be, Wedge preaches patience and trust in the process.
The signs have been there, the second-year manager claims. Even if the numbers aren't as pretty as they could be, the progress is evident to Wedge. The next step, though, is for the consistency to kick in.
"We're on our way to being a complete team, which is what we need to be to be a championship caliber team and to be a championship caliber team for years to come," Wedge said. "We're going to do it in a holistic fashion. That's what I want, that's what we're going to be, that's the way it has to be."
The Mariners' six 1-0 wins this season leads the Majors and breaks the previous club record of four.
Michael Saunders' solo blast in on Saturday gave the Mariners home runs in 12 straight games, which is the longest streak this season. The previous mark was 11 games in a row with a homer, which came from Aug. 17-28.
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.