Chone Figgins, of all people, saves the Mariners from total humiliation


The Mariners fanned 18 times against CC Sabathia, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera while being held to one hit in a 4-1 loss Tuesday.  It was their 17th straight loss.

The only Mariner to play the whole game without striking out was .182-hitting Chone Figgins, who actually fanned three times in his last start Thursday against the Blue Jays.  Figgins also drove in the club’s lone run on a fielder’s choice.

Everything else was simply hideous.  Miguel Olivo struck out four times.  Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan whiffed three times apiece.  The only starter besides Figgins not to K was Greg Halman, who went 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.  That pinch-hitter, Adam Kennedy, struck out.

In all, it was the 36th 18-strikeout game of nine-innings of less in major league history.  The Yankees tied their team record.  Ron Guidry fanned 18 all by himself back against the Angels on June 17, 1978.  Sabathia, who had his outing interrupted by a rain delay, fanned 14 of the 25 batters he faced tonight.

Of course, the Mariners were on the losing end of the first ever 20-strikeout nine-inning game.  Boston’s Roger Clemens was responsible for that massacre on April 29, 1986.  There have been two more 20 strikeout games since.  If not for Figgins, there might have been a fourth tonight.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.