I am sure the Mariners knew they were in a game against the Yankees because C.C. Sabathia was pitching on Tuesday night. Although he isn’t the pitcher he wants was he did teach the Mariner batters some things. He pitched seven innings giving up four hits and one run on one hundred and seven pitches. Actually the same amount of pitches as TaiJuan Walker did for the Mariners but Walker did it in five and two-third innings. Another thing is that Walker gave up four runs with three being earned. Early in the game TaiJuan looked like the pitcher we know that has a high ceiling however he struggled in the fifth inning looking more like the pitcher he was before being sent down to triple-A. His velocity started dropping while his pitches started plying up. In the fifth inning he gave up a home run that showed to some that he maybe not ready to pitch six innings or more in the major leagues and win. He does show brilliance of flashes in this game like in others but will we see that on a consistency basis.
Last year the Mariners sent down Mike Zunino to Tacoma at the end of August and did not have return for the September call ups. Instead he was sent to Arizona to continue working on his hitting. I wonder if the Mariners should do the same with Walker. After Tuesday night’s game I am sure Servais and Dipoto discussed what things will look for Walker the remaining of the season. James Paxton is expected to return to the rotation starting on Thursday night. The starting rotation should look like Paxton, Felix, Iwakuma, Miranda and LeBlanc. For Walker to stay in the rotation he would have to pitch better than either Miranda or LeBlanc but can he. LeBlanc pitched two innings in Tuesday night’s game so he could easily take Walker’s spot when it comes up in five days.
On the plus side the Mariners did not use up the regular guys in the bullpen going with Vidal Nuno for a third of an inning, Tony Zych in his first action coming off the disabled list for an inning and LeBlanc for two innings. So everyone else is ready to go in the bullpen Wednesday night. It is nice to see that Servais has decided to use Nuno in situations where they need to get a left handed hitter out. I am sure when September rolls around they will be able to use Dave Rollins in the same role. The Rainiers look like they will be in the PCL playoffs so it will be interesting to see how many players will come up as of September 1st and wait for the rest of call ups after the playoffs are done for the Rainiers.
In the meantime Iwakuma will be going against the Yankees in the final game of the series and then the Mariners will be off to Chicago against the White Sox. Iwakuma has a clause in his contract where he pitches five more innings which we hope takes place Wednesday night guarantees his contract for next season. He has some bonus coming his way depending on the amount of innings he pitches. They will all be matched if he pitches for another forty innings in the remaining of the season. He probably has seven or eight more games to start in the season and if he can go at least six in each of them he will meet the entire bonuses. We hope he does so because otherwise the Mariners could be in some trouble as far as winning games for the remaining of the season and getting into the playoffs. We hope to see the best of Iwakuma in this game. Go M’s.