Paxton Makes Spring Training Debut

The Seattle Mariners had split squad games on Wednesday. James Paxton who is expected to be the opening day starter though it hasn’t been made official yet and with the injury to Felix on Monday. The news right now is that Felix should be ready for opening day. When he makes his next start in spring training is not known at this time.

For those like Paxton who have already made the team the important thing is to just get in his innings and don’t get hurt either. He pitched two innings gave up a double and a walk however no runs were scored. He was the starter against the San Diego Padres but the Mariners ended up losing 11-6. The Mariners did take an early lead with Jean Segura hitting his first home run of the spring. The Mariners did start most of their regulars in this game. Not much happened with them outside of Gordon and Segura starting out the game.

The pitching besides Paxton and left specialist Marc Rzepczynski who pitched an inning after him the rest of the bullpen didn’t do a good job which I am sure we can all tell by the score. Christian Bergman who likely starts the season in Tacoma gave up six hits and five runs in the fourth inning. Lefty James Pazos who is expected to be in the bullpen to give up three runs in the top of ninth inning before being taken out with two outs.

Andrew Moore who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation didn’t do himself any favors by giving up six runs on seven hit in one and a third innings starting the game and the Mariners went on to lose 14-9. The rest of the pitchers used are not expected to make the Mariners opening roster.

The Mariners did start that game off in the top of the first when centerfielder Braden Bishop out of University of Washington hit a double and a home run from Andrew Romine who is competing for the utility role with Taylor Motter. Actually Motter hit a two-run double in the top of the first as well. It put the Mariners up 6-0 however Moore gave up two runs in the first and four more in the second to tie the game. The Royals scored six more runs in the third inning to make it 12-6. The Mariners scored a run in the top of the sixth on a home run by Gordon Beckham who played second base has an outside chance to be the utility player and he will likely start at Tacoma adding depth to the position. The season will start four weeks from tomorrow (Thursday) so still time to see who makes and who does not.

Ariel Miranda will make his second start of the spring Wednesday. He struggled a little bit in the first game but didn’t give up a run. Right now with Erasmo Ramirez out and no status on him at this point Miranda is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. Being his second start he could go three innings this time out. The Mariners will face the Cleveland Indians.

Mike Leake will make his second start on Thursday against the Kansas City and then on Friday Marco Gonzales will take his second start against the Milwaukee Brewers. Relievers Dave Phelps and Tony Zych haven’t been put into games as of yet. The Mariners are taking time with them both because of off-season surgery. Outfielder Mitch Haniger hasn’t seen any action as well because of his sore right hand and needs to be cleared by the doctors before he can play in a game. First baseman Ryon Healy isn’t hitting yet but is taking grounds at first base however fellow first baseman did see action on Tuesday as designated hitter against the Royals. He scored on a run, no hits and walked twice before being replaced.

No announcement has been made who will pitch on the weekend but likely James Paxton will start on Sunday since it will be the fifth day after yesterday. Other words who will start in the place of Felix on Saturday isn’t known.

All we pray right now is that no one else will get hurt especially on the pitching staff the rest of spring training. Go M’s.

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Felix Hit By Line Drive

 

In his first outing of the spring Felix Hernandez was hit by a line drive to his right arm. The hit caused a bruise to his arm and right now he is day to day. He was taken out of the game at the time in the second inning with one out. He didn’t give up a hit at that point. The Mariners sent him back to Peoria for a MRI exam that showed no broken bones. I am sure all of us are hoping that this won’t delay him in starting when the season begins. Also puts in discussion whether the Mariners should go out and get another veteran pitcher that would be considered in the top of the rotation. Whether this would be one of the free agents not signed yet or make a trade.

The Mariners game on Monday ended up with a tie 9-9. The Mariners took a four run lead in the second inning before Felix got hurt. Dee Gordon hit a three-run homer with two runners on base. Gordon was the only regular to start in the game. I expect that we will see a lot of him during the spring  him to get used to playing in center field.

The Mariners had a 9-2 lead after seven innings. Infielder Mejias Brean hit a grand slam home run pinch hitting for Taylor Motter who had started at third base. Outside of Gordon and Mejias the only hitting star who got two hits in the game was David Freitas who is vying for the backup catcher spot.

On Sunday the Mariners beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0. Good pitching beginning with starter Marco Gonzales who didn’t give up a hit in his two innings. Can’t go by spring training results however it does look good for his first out.

Mariners play split squad games on Tuesday. James Paxton goes for the Mariners in the primary game against the San Padres while Andrew Moore goes against the Kansas City Royals.

Mariners Win Spring Training Opener

The Seattle Mariners won their spring opener on Friday over the San Diego Padres 3-2. Lead off hitter Dee Gordon started the game off by hitting a double. Shortstop Jean Segura drove him home with a single and then Kyle Seager who was batting third drove him in to make the score 2-0. I am sure we are hoping to see a lot of Segura driving home Gordon throughout the season or at least getting on base to for Robinson  Cano  to drive them how. Cano will be the primary hitter batting third during the season.

Starter Ariel struggled some in his outing especially in the first inning. He gave a run himself in the first to make the score 2-1 after one inning. Utility player Andrew Romine who started at second hit a double and scored the Mariners third run to take a 3-1 lead.  The Padres scored their second and last run in the eighth by shortstop Fernando Tatis off of reliever Shawn Armstrong who game up another hit in the game but did strike out three batters. Dan Altavilla finished off the ninth inning striking out three batters to get the save. This for sure gives him a good time to get a spot in the bullpen.

Andrew Moore who is competing for a spot in the rotation as well had a good outing going two innings. He gave up no hits but walked a batter but struck out three batters though. If he continues to pitch this way he should nail down the fifth spot in the rotation.

The Mariners take on the Chicago White Sox today at noon. This game and Sunday’s will be on Root Sports. Mike Leake will be starting for the Mariner. He likely will go a couple of innings as well. As far as the lineup goes Dee Gordon will be the only regular and the rest will be guys who may or may not make the team. Utility player Andrew Romine will start at shortstop while his main competition hold over Taylor Motter will play third base. Gordon Beckham who is a former major leaguer and a minor league invitee will start at second base.

Besides Dee Gordon the outfield will be made up of a couple guys who will try to make the squad as a backup however they are outside shots since Guillermo Heredia looks like he is ready to go after off-season surgery. In left field will be John Andreoli and right field Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Mike Marjama who the Mariners picked up at the end of last season and competing for the backup catcher spot will start there.

Mike Leake who the Mariners picked up from the St. Louis near the end of last season and might be either the second or third starter depending on how Felix Hernandez does started five games for the Mariners with a solid 2.53  earn run average. He did struggle some with the Cardinals with an era over four and a record of 7-12. He averaged pitching about seven innings a game in thirty-one starts  between both teams. His career in the major leagues he has been one of the best pitchers when it comes to starts and innings pitched. With the offense of the Mariners  along with going seven innings giving up four runs or less he should be a solid starter to go with James Paxton. If he can win between twelve and fifteen games for the Mariners that will help out the rotation for sure. Paxton and Leake should be able to keep the bullpen in check and not be used so heavily.  

It would be nice if the Mariners could pick up another pitcher like Leake. It could happen during the season if Felix gets hurt or struggles along with the fourth and fifth starters. Of course keeping Paxton healthy throughout the season is key for the Mariners to make into the playoffs. The Mariners can’t afford for any other the regulars to get hurt during the season as well. As long as everyone stays somewhat healthy the Mariners will have a good shot to make the playoffs. We all hope for the best and an exciting season. Go M’s.

Mariners Open First Spring Game on Friday

On Friday the Seattle Mariners play their first spring training game against the San Diego Padres. Manager Scott Servais that since the regular players just started on Tuesday that not all of them will be in the lineup. He did announce a starting lineup of Dee Gordon in center and leading off. He will be followed by shortstop Jean Segura. Third baseman Kyle Seager will bat third and Mike Zunino at clean up. Ben Gamel will bat fifth and in left field followed by Daniel Vogelbach at designated hitter. The last three in the lineup will be Cameron Perkins in right field, Mike Ford at first base and ending with utility player Andrew Romine at second base. The Mariners have indicated three pitchers who will pitch in the game. It starts with Ariel Miranda and then Andrew Moore. A third pitcher will be Christian Bergman. With Erasmo Ramirez on the side lines right now this gives these three to show their stuff to make the rotation.

Far as major league experience Ariel Miranda has the most experience of the three. Last season he was supposed to start in Tacoma but because of injuries to the starting pitch for example Drew Smyly he started the season with the Mariners. He ended up starting more games than any other pitcher on the staff. He pitched in thirty-one games and started twenty-nine of them. There is a good possibility that Miranda could take Ramirez spot at the beginning of the season if he isn’t ready to go. Where the Mariners hope that Miranda improves is in giving up home runs. Last year he gave up thirty-seven home runs which was the most in the major league. We do see a lot of potential in Miranda so after having one full season under his belt he could be ready to do more. So Friday can be the beginning of it all. Miranda has a good spring and the Mariners feel he could be the fourth or fifth starter if Ramirez isn’t ready to start. In this case Ramirez could start the season in the bullpen. He has the most experience any of the guys who could be a long reliever since he spent time in the bullpen with the Tampa Bay Rays before coming back to the Mariners last year. Miranda could be the long reliever as well if Ramirez is ready to start. Whatever the case Miranda is help for the Mariners when it comes to depth.

Andrew Moore who is scheduled to pitch Friday as well is another one in the mix for the fifth starter. Last year was his first season pitching in triple A before being called up to Seattle. He had his moments in the starting rotation well as struggling. He is only twenty-three years old so if he has to spend another season in Tacoma the Mariners probably will benefit in the long run however he will probably make several starts for the Mariners over the long season. This is especially true if the Mariners do decide to go with a six-man rotation in the second half of the season.

The third one of the trio is Christian Bergman he started eight games for the Mariners and five other times in the bullpen. He is the longest shot to take Ramirez place in the rotation. Likely he will start the season in Tacoma unless he is released by the Mariners. Being in Tacoma his call up for the Mariners likely will be as a long reliever because they need a fresh arm or for a spot start. I am sure the Mariners hope this will not need to take this season.

No other pitchers were announced to pitch in the first game. Miranda, Moore and Bergman probably won’t pitch no more then two innings being the first outing for them all. Mike Leake will start on Saturday followed by Marco Gonzales on Sunday. Felix will make his first start on Monday and James Paxton on Tuesday. At this point all those who are in the competition to be in the five man rotation will have pitched. We will see how all these look after their first outings.

My next post will be after the Mariners first game against the Padres. Any additional news will be mentioned than if something happens. Go M’s.

James Paxton

I am now going to look at James Paxton nicknamed the Big Maple” because he is tall at 6’4 and from British Columbia Canada. He is left handed and can throw hard like another former Mariner in Randy Johnson though he isn’t as tall.

The biggest thing against Paxton is that he has had a tendency to get hurt every year. This will be his third year in a row  where he should start at least twenty games. Last season he took over as the ace of the Mariners from King Felix. It is figured that he should start the season opener for the Mariners for the first time. There are some that say Felix will be offended  if Paxton starts however he needs to realize that he isn’t the ace any longer. On the other hand is it that important that the ace of the team starts the opener even though it has been traditional. Whether Paxton or Felix start the opener I don’t really care.

Actually I would look at how the rotation will look for the season. Most likely they will have three right handers in the rotation plus another lefty besides Paxton. The candidate will probably be Marco Gonzales so if Paxton is the opening starter than the rotation likely be Paxton, Felix, Mike Leake, Gonzales with Erasmo Ramirez in the fifth spot. The Mariners have three days off in the first week so the fifth starter may not go until the second time around. Really the schedule is weird because I see that the Mariners have the first two Fridays off in the season. I don’t remember teams ever taking Fridays off.

Until he was hurt I thought that Paxton had a chance to be in contention for Cy Young Award however he ended with a record of

12-5 in twenty-four starts. Also he had 156 strikeouts in 136 innings. Depending on his control he should be able to go at least seven innings because he can throw at least a hundred pitches. In fact he can stay strong that he should be able to go between 110 and 120 pitches. Often his fastball is as strong if not stronger late in games. Staying healthy is the key for him however if he can pitch thirty games depending on when or if the Mariners go to a sixth man rotation. Being a number one starter I would like him to go every fifth day even if the Mariners go to the sixth man rotation. A team is much better when their top pitcher goes as often as possible.

News came in after starting this story that Erasmo Ramirez will be shut for two weeks with a strained  right lat muscle. With this news could help someone like Andrew Moore and Ariel Miranda to take over the fourth spot in the rotation. If Ramirez isn’t ready to pitch in the rotation when the season begins he could have a spot in the bullpen. Another question will the Mariners look to go outside the organization to get another starter. We may know in a few days. This would depend to if another starter has an injury while in training camp. So could be a blessing in disguise if the Mariners decide to bring in another starting pitcher. Go M’s.

Spring Training Begins

Today Wednesday February 14 is the beginning of spring training for the Mariners pitchers and catchers. Actually they will be going through their physicals so the actually throwing will not happen until Thursday though some may do so on Wednesday anyway.

The regulars will report next Tuesday February 20 and first game will start on Friday February 23 against the San Diego Padres. This is little early for the start of games because the season begins a few days early on March 29 in Seattle against the Cleveland Indians.

The starting rotation will have two spots fighting for the 4th and 5th spots. James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake have the top three spots. Things could change a bit if one of those three get hurt during spring training and not ready to go.

Erasmo Ramirez, Marco Gonzales and Andrew Moore are the three main candidates to fill the role of the 4th and 5th starter. If either Ramirez or Gonzales don’t make the rotation the one will be likely the long reliever in the bullpen. Ramirez who has had experience in the bullpen before could do more than be the long reliever. Gonzales is out of options so he would most likely be the long reliever if not making the rotation. The Mariners would have to put him on waivers and some other team likely pick him up. The Mariners could look at trading either of them as well if another team is needing a pitcher at the end of their rotation.

I am sure the Mariners will give Andrew Moore a real look to be in the rotation as well however he is only twenty-three years old and still has options available. He would likely go to Tacoma if he doesn’t make the rotation out of spring training. This would depend on other pitchers who are trying to make the staff or the Mariners trade or sign a veteran pitcher which is also possible.

Ariel Miranda who started more games than anyone last year could end up being in the rotation as well or be the long reliever too. Like Moore though he could start in Tacoma as well. The Mariners have talked about going to a six-man rotation some point during the season though it won’t happen at the beginning of the season because the Mariners will have a few days off in April. Having Moore and or Miranda in Tacoma will keep them available to take that spot. It is good idea to start either or both in Tacoma when the season starts because the Mariners will want to be sure they are able to pitch enough innings to start if called upon whether it has to do with going to six starters or because of injuries to one of the starters.

The bullpen likely will start the season with eight pitchers but would go down seven if they do go to a six-man rotation. Newcomer Juan Nicasio along with holdovers David Phelps, Nick Vincent and closer Edwin Diaz from the right side with lefties James Pazos and Marc Rzepczynski. So the Mariners will have one spot remaining for others to fight over besides the long reliever.

Far as the regular players the lineup is pretty much setup. The competition has to do with the backup. The Mariners have four catchers who will compete to makeup Mike Zunino. At this point hard to know whether the position will be the one that is the best hitter or defensively. The Mariners want to have someone that catches twice a week to keep Zunino in top shape and lot will depend on  his hitting as well.

With thirteen pitchers that are expected to be on the roster and the backup catching spot that leaves only two players on the bench. One of those should be Guillermo Heredia as the fourth outfielder unless he isn’t ready to go after off-season surgery. The other spot will be at utility player between newcomer Andrew Romine and Taylor Motter.

Although there isn’t very many spots to plug into the twenty-five opening day roster it will still be interesting to see who makes it. We do hope that everyone stays healthy or at the least fewer injuries unlike last year. I look forward to see Dee Gordon in his first outing at centerfield in spring training along with the looks of Felix and James Paxton. Also it would be good to see how Marco Gonzales and Andrew Moore both look after last year. It would be nice to see improvement from them. I guess it will be nice to see Mike Zunino not struggle at the plate going into the season. I wonder what the Mariners will do if he does struggle none of the backups have much or no major league experience. We know he should be fine behind the plate and the Mariners could use one of the bench players to pinch hit later in the games if necessary. All I know is that I don’t want to see him strike out when there are runners on base. I know even at his best it will happen once in a while I just don’t want to see it on a regular basis. The important thing is for Servais to know when to keep him in the lineup and when not to since he could be a streaky hitter as well.

I look forward to see what the next five weeks will be like going into the season. I hope our questions will be answered in a positive way. Go M’s.

King Felix

The Mariner pitchers along with the catchers report on Wednesday. We still have questions about the Mariners starting rotation which includes Felix Hernandez.

It is interesting to think of Felix Hernandez of being a question mark however the last two years puts him in that spot. He will be thirty-two in early April however unlike many pitchers who are in their prime Felix is on his down side it looks. He came up to the Mariners as a nineteen year old so he has a lot of use on his arm and the last two years he has struggled with injuries and two subpar seasons.

The Mariners coaching brass is hoping that he will be able to make a comeback. His fastball is not what it once was however he does have other pitches that could put him back among the best but the question will be if it happens.

Most seasons the Mariners have allowed working on his own schedule during spring training but this year looks to be different. According to Dipoto and Servais he will be in the mix with the other starters. Every year before Felix would not be in an exhibition game until about the last two weeks of spring training to be ready for being the opening day starter. I would not be surprised to see him in one of the early games this time for an inning or two. Also his string of being the opening day starter could be over and the spot go to James Paxton. Of course this will depend on Paxton as well since he has injuries himself in past seasons and struggled in spring training. The Mariners hope though that he will be ready to be the ace of the team.

There are some free agent starters still on the market so the Mariners could go after one of them especially if they get the pitcher at a lower rate including amount of years. Yu Darvish did sign a six year contract at $25 million per year with the Chicago Cubs so hard to know at this point whether any of the other guys actually be willing to go lower however if they don’t sign this week that could change. I am sure some wish the Mariners could have signed Darvish at that amount but in my mind likely it would have cost the Mariners more money to get him somewhere around $28 million and he isn’t worth that amount.

I know that some fans wish that the Mariners would trade Felix however with his contract over $26 million per year I am sure no one would take him without the Mariners paying part of the salary. We all know that Felix is not worth that amount unless he finds his way back to resemble his old self in a way or at least pitching well with all his pitches.

Where he fits in the rotation will depend on how he does during spring training. Most likely he will be in the second or third spot in the rotation. Felix does have a lot of pride so I am sure he will want to get back to resemble the King in a way. What I hope for is that he doesn’t try to strike out a lot of hitters and go for grounders so he can throw about ninety to hundred pitches in at least six innings. Last year he was only able to start sixteen games having a record of 6-5 along with an era of 4.36. I am sure the Mariners would be overjoyed if he could start ten more games at least this season. Even with an era around four with the Mariners offense being improved that could go well for them.

If Felix gets hurt once again this season the Mariners are in trouble and Dipoto will have to go out get another starter. The Mariners have depth to replace a fifth starter in the rotation but not a number three starter. It would only be different if Erasmo Ramirez has a good season along with whoever is the fifth starter. So we hope to see you pitch well this year Felix. We don’t expect you being a number one starter however being a second or third starter would be fine with us. Go M’s.