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Moyer’s schedule seems downright wacky lately

Sun., July 4, 2004

For a man who prides himself on doing his job every fifth day, Jamie Moyer has had a weird stretch of games the past few weeks.

There was the unscheduled relief appearance in an 18-inning loss to Texas, followed three days later by a start. And then Friday night, he was embroiled in a 1-1 tie with the Cardinals when a two-hour rain delay ended his night.

“I’ve probably had four or five rain delays in my career, so it’s not a lot of experience to base a decision on,” Moyer said Saturday. “You want to go back out there, you want to protect the bullpen.

“At the same time, one game isn’t your career. Common sense tells you there’s a point at which you risk injury.”

On Friday during the delay, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Bryan Price huddled with the 41-year-old left-hander. Moyer wanted to go back out to the mound after an hour, but Price and Melvin vetoed that.

“I couldn’t argue,” Moyer said. “I want to pitch the rest of the season.”

What’s next on Moyer’s chart?

“We’ll probably start him the first game in Toronto (Tuesday),” Melvin said. “But we’ll see how Jamie feels (Saturday).”

“I feel great today, because I didn’t throw that many pitches — the start was like a bullpen session between games for me,” Moyer said. “Sometimes it’s two days later you feel sore, though.”

Telling stat

The most telling statistic of June wasn’t that the Mariners’ pitching staff led the American League with a 3.67 earned-run average.

All that showed was that the team pitched well. What was more telling? How about this:

The combined ERA for June for all pitchers working against the Mariners was 3.47.

Pineiro better, but not an ace

When Joel Pineiro beat the Texas Rangers last week, some people were ready to name him the new ace of the Mariners. There was even talk that he’s finally among the elite starting pitchers in the American League.


Yes, Pineiro made the slugging Rangers look a lot like the puny-hitting Mariners.

And yes, he showed no fear with any of his pitches, which drew comparisons to the mindset Roger Clemens brings to the mound.

But has Pineiro suddenly rounded the corner and joined the neighborhood of the truly dominant starters in the game?

Let’s revisit that one at the end of the season.

Pineiro is on a nice streak right now, having pitched well in his last four starts and won three of them. He has thrown his fastball with confidence and gotten ahead in the count with it, then used his sharp-breaking curveball to get hitters out. He isn’t being hammered by the big inning like he was early this season.

After a 1-7 start, it has been a nice turnaround for a pitcher the Mariners believe will become something special.

But let’s give the guy room to keep growing. He’s only 25 and still learning how to use his considerable talent.

When Pineiro pitches for an entire season like he has the past month, when he’s a consistent threat to win 20 games, then it will be time to link him with the elite.

– Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune and Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald contributed to this report.


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