Game 110, Mariners at Orioles
James Paxton vs. Miguel Gonzalez, 4:05 pm
Hullo all. I’m back again, pinch-hitting for Marc over the weekend while he’s otherwise occupied. The hope is that I get a thread up tomorrow morning too, but some scheduling things on my end may prevent that. None of us know what tomorrow will bring.
Today brings the news of James Paxton’s return to the major league rotation after nearly four months sidelined. When last we saw our hero, he was making a rehab start against Sacto where he lasted four and a third innings, having thrown 47 of 78 pitches for strikes (60.3%) and giving up a run on six hits, three walks, and five Ks. Before that, he gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits (two dingers), a walk, and four Ks while throwing 34 of 60 for strikes (56.7%) through three frames against Las Vegas. And before THAT, he lasted just two and two-thirds in Everett with two runs scoring on two hits (HR), a walk, a wild pitch, and two Ks. There’s an upward trajectory here, but one gets the impression that the Mariners wouldn’t be pushing him out there unless they had to, and they kind of do in this case. Or at least they seem to be more confident in his ability to get them innings than they do Erasmo or Walker because both those guys were optioned. This too may end up as a trial run for Paxton.
Making way for him, we have Corey Hart hitting the DL with reportedly a bruised knee. One never really knows in these cases which it really is, the injury as an excuse for a lack of performance or a lack of performance as a means of justifying a DL stint from what may not be a serious injury. They say he hit a wall in Cleveland and played through it. Okay. We know Hart had all of the knee surgeries recently. We know that in July he had a 43 wRC+ which is only so much better than the 38 wRC+ he had in May just before hitting the DL. We are learning, and perhaps the Mariners may be learning, that trusting an aging player to improve as they recover from multiple significant surgeries may not be the best course of action when organizing a roster. Throw the dice on TJ victims or guys that have had broken bones in the draft if you wish, but not FAs on the wrong side of thirty who have had ligament or joint surgeries when millions of dollars are involved.
Of course, since Paxton was on the 60-day, we had to clear a 40-man spot for him, and in this case Blake Beavan was the victim. We may not see him as a fill-in the rotation again. Man, that seems weird. But we all know why, how he stopped throwing hard after he was drafted, how he never really developed into much more than an innings guy, etc. He threw eight innings for Tacoma last month and had a .276/.361/.276 line against. My guess is that the Mariners probably started the DFA process around the trade deadline when everyone else was too busy to be interested in a Blake Beavan, and what do you know, he got outrighted already.
This is all probably more interesting to you than Miguel Gonzalez, who started against the M’s a week ago and held us to one run over six frames despite eight hits, two walks, and only one K. And few groundballs. He simply evaded one problem spot after another even though his stuff is ordinary at best. So we’re up against a pitcher who recently frustrated us, using a lineup that, as recently as last night, was a bit frustrating.
[Edit: Late lineup change, Morales and Morrison switch positions.]
CF Austin Jackson
LF Dustin Ackley
2B Robinson Cano
1B Kendrys Morales
3B Kyle Seager
DH Logan Morrison
SS Chris Taylor
RF Endy Chavez
C Jesus Sucre
Down the minor league ladder tonight, we have Erasmo on the mound for the Rainiers in Albuquerque, Landazuri for Jackson at home, a TBD for the Mavericks against Inland Empire, Eddie Campbell for Clinton at Burlington (BEES), Jeffeson Medina for Everett at Eugene, and a couple of double-headers for Pulaski and Peoria, the latter of which finishes up a lightning-suspended game from a little over a week ago.