By Brady Henderson
Years from now, Danny Farquhar will be the answer to a Mariners trivia question as one of two minor leaguers Seattle acquired in a landmark trade that sent Ichiro to the Yankees in 2012.
Danny Farquhar has three saves in as many chances since the M's switched to a closer-by-committee approach. (AP)
Farquhar, a 26-year-old right-hander, has been Seattle's de facto closer for the last week, and all he's done is convert all three of his save opportunities while extending his scoreless-innings streak to 12 2/3.
The Mariners have been going with a closer-by-committee approach since demoting Tom Wilhelmsen from that role, giving them the option of choosing whatever reliever gives them the best matchup in a given save situation. Farquhar has gotten the call each time, capably filling a role that he's embracing even if it's only temporary.
"I feel like I am to go-to guy in the ninth inning," he told "Wyman, Mike and Moore" on Wednesday after striking out two batters en route to closing out a win over Toronto, the team that made him a 10th-round pick in 2008.
"Maybe it's the confidence I have in myself, but I'm going to stick with it."
Farquhar doesn't exactly look the part of a major-league closer, but even at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds he can generate a mid-90s fastball to go along with solid command. He has experience in that role, too – albeit in the minor leagues – notching 69 career saves in parts of six seasons. And while nothing can match the pressure of the ninth inning of a big-league game, Farquhar got experiencing in some less-than-comfortable situations while pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League during the offseason.
"That atmosphere down in Venezuela – they're ruthless," he said. "Maybe not as ruthless as they are in Brazil, but it's a tough situation to pitch in."
The Mariners called up Farquhar from Triple-A Tacoma on May 17, and his first two months in Seattle were rocky. But since July 19, Farquhar has gone eight outings without allowing a run, striking out 20 while issuing only four walks. He's seen his ERA drop from 7.61 to 4.95 during that stretch.
"Things have been going a little bit better for me, huh?" he said.