Mariners Tidbit 56: Iwakuma Needs To Be On A Short Leash

Last night was a little strange for me.  I ended up nodding off when the Mariners were down 1-0.  I woke up about an hour later, just in time to see the Mariners pull to within 3-2, and eventually take a 5-3 lead.  I also saw the Mariners piss all over that lead as the Tigers ran away with things.  I ended up going back to sleep with a 12-5 defeat firmly in hand.

Make no mistake, the Mariners should have won that game.  Any time the Mariners score 5 runs at home, that should be a win.  It wasn’t, and a lot of that has to do with the revolving door that has been the back-end of our bullpen – currently consisting of Mayckol Guaipe and Rule 5 guy David Rollins – who gave up 7 of those runs in 1 combined inning.  Still, I can’t help but think of how differently things might’ve gone had we gotten a quality start out of our starting pitcher.

Hisashi Iwakuma was making his first start since coming off of the DL, so one could argue that he deserves a little slack, but I’m through giving him slack.  He’s been consistently fucking terrible since August 24th of last year and there’s really no end in sight.

What is it?  Was he wearing down because he was tired last year?  Then, how do you explain his April of this year?  Was he secretly injured in those starts, and they finally had to shut him down?  Then, how do you explain last night, when he looked EXACTLY like he’s looked since August 24th?

How do you explain a guy who gave up 4 home runs in 5 innings pitched last night?  How do you explain a guy who has made 4 starts this year and has given up NINE fucking homers in those starts, across only 21.1 innings pitched?

Because I’ll tell you how I explain it:  that’s a pitcher who is done.  Period.  He’s leaving balls up in the zone, he’s catching WAY too much of the plate, and he’s getting crushed on every single mistake because he doesn’t have the type of stuff that will allow him to get away with mistakes!  89 mph fastball?  Tattooed.  Hanging slider?  Tattooed.  Splitter?  Unless it’s absolutely perfect, teams are laying off, because they know that’s his only out pitch.

It all likely doesn’t matter anyway, because this team is a whopping 7 games under .500 and only a single game out of last place in the American League, but if the front office has any wild-eyed dream of somehow turning things around and making the playoffs, then it better not rubber stamp Iwakuma’s roster spot the rest of the way, because he’s finished.  They can’t afford to get manhandled every five days when they have a guy in Elias who will at least keep you in games!  The Mariners are 0-4 in Iwakuma starts, and they’ve actually managed to score a whopping 18 runs in those four starts!  I shit you not, small sample and everything, but Iwakuma has to be crushing the rest of the league in run support, and yet here we are.

The die-hard fan in me would give Iwakuma one more start, maybe two, and then he’s DFA’d.  The pragmatist in me knows the season is over and feels the Mariners should at least give Iwakuma the month of July.  HOPEFULLY, he’ll turn things around enough that we can trade him away at the deadline for SOMETHING.  Maybe some other team will figure out what’s wrong with a guy who – in his last 6 starts in the pitcher-friendly confines of Safeco Field – has managed to somehow give up 12 home runs.

Let me repeat that for those of you who didn’t have it sink in:  in one of the toughest ballparks in which to hit, Iwakuma has somehow given up – on average – 2 home runs per start in his last 6 starts.

This is the end, beautiful friend.

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