And also sent a couple pitchers onto the DL. So, you know, you take the good, you take the bad, and so on and so forth.
Got another Felixy good start in this one! 6 innings, 3 runs, 3 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts. Numbers probably would’ve been better, but as has been the case just about every single game, he was brought out to start an inning he shouldn’t have started, gave up a couple baserunners immediately without getting an out, then the bullpen was left to fend for itself. Maybe in another 10 or 20 years, the Mariners will find a manager who has a clue and runs a pitching staff the way it’s supposed to be run in the 21st century.
Dan Altavilla was one of the arms to go on the DL. He has a minor strain of something or other that shouldn’t keep him out too long, but I dunno. Are we sure this isn’t something that’s going to nag at him all season? We’ve got five months to go! Knowing absolutely nothing about the injury, I’m setting the over/under at 2.5 months of Major League action out of Altavilla, and right now I’m staring hard at the under. Because when do pitchers ever just bounce back like nothing happened, without further repercussions down the line? Everyone’s always super optimistic right when the injury happens, then there’s setbacks, shutting him down, ramping him back up, rehab assignments, a return a few weeks later, then after a bunch of subpar performances, BAM, shut down for the season. Maybe that over/under was too high. Maybe 1.5 months is more accurate.
Anyway, in his place, Struggling Nick Vincent handled the 7th inning, gave up both of Felix’s runs, then managed to get out of trouble. Juan Nicasio did his thing in the 8th (he’s REALLY looking like the guy we signed to the big bucks this past offseason), and Edwin Diaz worked around a couple walks in the 9th to strike out two guys in getting his 12th save of the season. Absolutely mind-blowing!
On offense, Dee Gordon went 5/5 with 2 stolen bases and a run scored. Nelson Cruz had a 3-run bomb in the 5th to take the lead for good in the game. And Jean Segura tacked on a couple of RBI – including a crucial late insurance run – to salt the game away.
The Mariners are now 17-11, and notably, +1 in run differential. That’s somewhat concerning, as you gotta wonder when the other shoe is going to drop with the back-end of that bullpen. I’m not saying it’ll fully collapse, but Diaz and Nicasio won’t be this dominant every single game. On the flipside, with the offense fully healthy, we gotta hope that we’ll see more GOOD Mariners blowouts as opposed to the bad ones that have hindered our run differential thus far. I’ll be more curious what that figure is in another month, as we get more time with our full roster.
Or, as close to it as we can get. The bigger of the two DL drops yesterday goes to Erasmo Ramirez, who we can’t confirm was brought back too quickly from his Spring Training injury … but he was totally brought back too quickly from his Spring Training injury. It’s disappointing, I guess, but I dunno. I wasn’t expecting Ramirez to replicate his August and September of 2017, because for him, that was an unsustainable run. Now, by the same token, I didn’t expect him to be as bad as he was in his first two starts this year, but again THE TEAM RUSHED HIM BACK TOO SOON! My overall feeling on this injury – which looks like it could keep him out for a month at a minimum, but probably a lot longer – is No Big Loss. It’s Erasmo Ramirez, it’s not James Paxton. It’s not Felix Hernandez. It’s not even Mike Leake! Replacing Erasmo Ramirez with Wade LeBlanc (which is the plan this week) or Ariel Miranda at some point down the line, or a couple of the other no-names in Tacoma, isn’t a huge drop-off from Ramirez. It might not be ANY drop-off! And, dare I say it, if the baseball gods are on our side, could we be talking about addition by subtraction?
What I do know is, with Hisashi Iwakuma’s latest setback, don’t count on him filling this role. He’s done. It’s not official, but he’s done. It’s time to stop CPR and call the time of death. He had a nice career with the Mariners, made more money than he should need for the rest of his life, so I tip my cap and let’s move on.
Paxton goes tonight. Hopefully, with the new calendar month, he figures it out and gets it going. Should probably win this one if we hope to win the series, as LeBlanc is a huge question mark going tomorrow.