I’ll Freak Out Now: James Paxton On The DL

I feel like the “lat strain” is the pitcher’s version of Guti’s “digestive issues”.  Seems really vague, and like they’re trying to play it off as no big deal.  And then a month or two goes by with no improvement, and all of a sudden it’s something completely different.

Look, the Seattle Mariners just aren’t meant to have nice things (which makes Felix’s ongoing presence in our lives that much MORE miraculous).  Every time I feel like a corner is about to be turned, by the time we get there it’s just another fucking brick wall.  The problem with the Mariners, as I see it, is that the best players (Felix aside, thank God) never seem to stay healthy, while the worst players keep going on and on and on.  That’s probably not true, but it’s just a real fork in the eyeball knowing that one of our great, young starting pitchers is about to miss a minimum of 2 weeks (but, realistically a minimum of a month or more).

The REAL problem with the Mariners is a lack of depth.  I dunno, though, seems like every team would have that problem.  You’ve got your starting nine position players, your starting five pitchers, and the drop-off after that is pretty huge.  Bench players are bench players for a reason.  Guys in the minors are in the minors FOR A REASON.  You don’t get a shitload of roster spots like you do in football, to foster a bunch of competition and such.  You toss off the losers into a sub-bracket and you let them fend for themselves against inferior competition until a need arises and you pull them up into the bigs hoping they’re ready to handle the load.  Seems unfair, really, but that’s the system baseball has in place.

I would argue, though, that the Mariners are more lacking in depth than most.  We’ve got a 3-man platoon in right field for crying out loud!  We’re starting a guy in our rotation whose previous highest level was AA, and another guy we just picked up off the street!  We’ve given others on this roster so many chances to prove their worth, it’s literally a crime punishable by public flogging just to say their names aloud.  So, when we lose someone with a lot of promise, who was supposed to be a huge part of why we MIGHT contend this year, it hurts us more than most other teams.

Why Paxton?  Why not Elias or even Ramirez?  Hell, why not Blake Beavan or Michael Pineda again or literally anyone on the A’s?

So, what does this mean?  For starters, it means Chris Young slides into Paxton’s spot in the rotation, coming up this Sunday.  It also means that next Tuesday, we’re going to finally need a fifth starter.  Taijuan Walker just had a good start down in AA, so maybe he’s ready.  Blake Beavan was moved up a start in Tacoma to line up properly, so maybe he’s the guy.  Anyway you slice it, I’m just glad Chris Young isn’t making a start down in Texas next week.

Also, this means that Erasmo has certainly bought himself some time.  Obviously, when I wrote that post a couple days ago, I was going off of a VERY small sample size when I talked about the possibility of Erasmo being the odd man out when Iwakuma & Walker return.  Well, I don’t think that Elias did much to hurt or help himself with that start last night, but that’s neither here nor there.  With Paxton on the shelf until May, Erasmo has at least the month to get into some semblance of a groove.  Here’s to hoping he bounces back strong against the A’s on Saturday.

Speaking of Elias, he went another five innings last night and made a lot of mistakes.  However, the only mistake that really counts was the 2-run homer he left hanging to Albert Pujols.  He’s got a real knack for leaving that change up high in the strike zone.  If I had to guess, I’d say that’s probably the worst pitch you’d ever want to see left belt-high right down the middle.  When he leaves it up, his change has almost no movement.  That shit needs to be corrected real quick if he aims to stick with the big ballclub.

Really, the less said about yesterday’s game, the better.  We burned through four relievers who continued their shut-down performances (aside from Noesi, we actually have the best bullpen in baseball through the first week and change).  Our hitters were 1-hit and don’t ask me how, because I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.  That Garrett Richards guy looks like he’s got some stuff that’s going to make us miserable for the next decade – fastball in the high-90s, good movement on his off-speed material – why couldn’t HE have left the game with tightness in his lat instead of Paxton?

Today’s an off-day, then tomorrow’s Felix & The Supreme Court.  I’ll be in attendance, wearing my Felix 2013 All Star Game jersey, with a Seahawks Super Bowl t-shirt underneath.  They call me Homer, Steven Homer …

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