Margevicius (shoulder fatigue) labors vs. Sox

Mariners lefty slated for MRI, goes just one-third of an inning in series finale

April 25th, 2021

never looked quite right, and his Sunday afternoon outing was over quickly.

The Mariners left-hander was pulled after recording just one out in the shortest start of his career as Seattle split the four-game set with a 5-3 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Margevicius walked four batters (two with the bases loaded) and allowed four earned runs. Of his 32 pitches, only 13 were strikes.

“Not the way we were hoping to get that one started today,” manager Scott Servais said. “Marge just didn’t have a whole lot.”

Servais said following the game that Margevicius is experiencing left shoulder fatigue and will undergo an MRI in Houston, where the club opens a four-game series against the Astros on Monday at Minute Maid Park.

The brief outing comes after Margevicius left last Sunday’s win against the Astros with arm fatigue, being pulled in the middle of an at-bat in the fifth inning due to poor command and diminished velocity. A full week between starts did not subside those issues.

Margevicius “felt fine” during his bullpen session prior to Sunday’s game and didn’t have any indication of a shoulder issue, according to Servais.

“Bullpens are different than the game,” Servais said. “The adrenaline gets going, the intensity picks up. You could see early on that he didn’t have it.”

Margevicius’ pitch chart tells the story of his outing just as much as the numbers. Whether it was his fastball or curveball, he couldn’t find any rhythm with his stuff. Margevicius especially had trouble commanding his curveball the few times he threw it, missing badly with a couple high and outside. The only slider Margevicius threw was nowhere near the plate.

More concerning than Margevicius’ command issues was his diminished velocity. His average fastball clocked in at 88.6 mph, down from his season average of 89.8 mph. Margevicius threw 26 fastballs, but only three clocked in at 90 mph or above. His fastball velocity slightly picked up as the inning went along, but it dropped right back down as his pitch count soared.

Margevicius' curveball had an even more stark velocity drop; the breaking pitch had an average velocity of 69.2 mph, a few ticks slower than his season average of 72.2 mph.

Given how this outing unfolded, Margevicius is unlikely to make his next scheduled start. One candidate to take his spot is Ljay Newsome, who helped stabilize a shaky beginning with four scoreless innings of relief against the Red Sox.

Newsome took the baton from Casey Sadler, who also pitched two scoreless innings, and pounded the strike zone, throwing strikes on 74 percent (40 of 54) of his pitches. At one point, Newsome retired eight consecutive batters, providing quickness and pace that was desperately needed after a laborious first two innings.

Not only did Newsome and Sadler help keep the Mariners in the ballgame, but they helped keep the bullpen fresh by eating up innings.

“I thought our bullpen again did an unbelievable job today,” Servais said. “Ljay Newsome, to go out there and give us four scoreless innings like he did. Obviously, he gave us a chance to come back in the ballgame, but even more importantly than that, what it sets us up to do going forward, because we didn’t have to run through every guy in our bullpen today.”

Newsome, who made four starts last season, has excelled in a long relief role early in the season. Each of Newsome’s four appearances this season has spanned at least two innings, including his two innings of work just two days prior.

“Unbelievable. I can’t say enough about the job that he did, knowing that he only had one day off,” Servais said. “He just keeps pitching.”