Shawn Kelley doesn't use Chase Field as excuse
One day after striking out feared Justin Upton, reliever can't quell Diamondbacks in fifth inning
Seattle Times staff reporter
PHOENIX — Mariners relief pitcher Shawn Kelley had an interesting 18 hours or so of mixed results in a tough ballpark in which to pitch.
Kelley had been one of the mound heroes for the Mariners in a marathon win Tuesday night, striking out Arizona's Justin Upton with the bases loaded and the score tied. But then on Wednesday, Kelley couldn't stop the bleeding in a decisive, five-run fifth inning when he came on and yielded a run-scoring single to Ryan Roberts and then an RBI double to John McDonald.
"Today was one of those days where you felt that even if you made a pretty good pitch or a borderline pitch, they were able to get the bat on it," Kelley said.
Kelley said he hasn't played at Chase Field long enough to know how much of it was the ballpark and how much was his stuff being off. He does feel that hitters can gain confidence in a park deemed a "hitter's park" and added that it makes it that much more critical to execute pitches properly.
He did that Tuesday against Upton, the Diamondbacks star who has encountered seasonlong criticism here from fans for not living up to sky-high expectations. The fact that Seattle had intentionally walked Aaron Hill ahead of Upton to load the bases with the score tied sparked much debate among Phoenix media and fans.
Kelley fell behind 3-1 to Upton, rallied to take the count full, then threw his trademark slider down and away. Upton swung and missed.
"I know Upton's looking to drive in runs like there," Kelley said. "That's what he does. That's what he's good at. He's not looking to walk. So, I'd predetermined in my mind that I was going to throw him the slider in the bottom of the zone.
"I wasn't going to give him anything to put three or four on the board."
• As expected, the Mariners officially promoted pitcher Danny Hultzen and shortstop Nick Franklin from Class AA to Class AAA. The moves came after the pair participated in Tuesday's Southern League All-Star Game.
Hultzen, 22, the team's No. 2 overall pick from 2011, was 8-3 with a 1.19 earned-run average in 13 starts for Class AA Jackson, while holding opponents to a .151 batting average. He's scheduled to make his first start for Tacoma on Saturday at Colorado Springs.
Franklin, 21, hit .322 with four homers and 17 doubles in 57 games. He was selected by Seattle in the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 draft.
Both could be up with the Mariners later this season, with Hultzen perhaps making it as soon as next month.
• Casper Wells is 11 for 21 since returning last week from Class AAA after two more singles to drive in two runs.
• Ichiro added a single after a four-hit outing the night before.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @gbakermariners