One more time, the Seattle Mariners have scratched and clawed their way back to a .500 record, on the back of a 9-1 victory over the Mets. That win gave them a 5-5 record on the homestand, so it’s kinda like the last 10 games didn’t even happen!
James Paxton looked phenomenal as usual, going 6 shutout innings, giving up 6 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 8. He gave way to Emilio Pagan, who had another 2 shutout innings to throw onto his pile, as he starts to get more and more higher leverage situations to deal with. And James Pazos closed it out by blowing the shutout in the ninth, looking no closer to being his usual awesome self, which is pretty concerning.
The real stars of this one were the hitters. Nelson Cruz hit a mammoth 3-run home run. Leonys Martin – in his first start since April 20th – had two hits, including a homer off of the Hit It Here Cafe. I can’t tell you how fantastic it was to see that. He’s been tearing it up in Tacoma, so it’s nice to have that sort of depth when a Mitch Haniger goes down. Assuming Haniger is only gone for two weeks or so, I hope the team figures out a way to keep Martin on the roster through the month of August, until rosters can be expanded and I don’t have to worry about losing anyone of import. It’s nice to be able to throw out three left-handed hitters in the outfield when we want to, if nothing else.
Also of note, Ben Gamel had 2 hits, 2 runs and an RBI. Cano had 2 hits, a run and an RBI. Seager had 2 hits, including a double. Dyson, Segura and Danny Espinosa (who pinch hit for Segura late in the game) all chipped in with hits. And Mike Zunino had a couple walks and a run scored. Even Danny Valencia had a sac fly; literally everyone contributed SOMETHING to the cause.
Getting back to Paxton, he becomes the first Mariners pitcher to ever go 6-0 in a single month, raising his record from 5-3 to 11-3, which puts him tied for third in the American League for most wins (Chris Sale and Jason Vargas of all people are tied for first with 13 wins). Also, among qualified pitchers, Paxton’s 2.68 ERA is second only to Sale’s 2.37. Of course, Paxton is 3 starts and about 41 innings shy of Sale’s totals, what with landing on the DL for a month, but that’s still some good company.
Anyway, here we are. The August death march unofficially starts today with a game down in Texas. This is where we find out if the Mariners have what it takes or not. I’d wager probably not.