On Tuesday, April 8th, I ate breakfast at a local Seattle restaurant in the booth next to James Paxton. He was alone, focused, and looked dialed in to a T. There isn't much else to this story beyond the fact that I didn't say anything out of fear of screwing up some time-tested tradition of his, and despite the fact that the whole thing was so random, I was more concerned with the Mariners getting the win than a blurry instagram photo. You know what happened next, of course.
It's been 16 weeks since Paxton last pitched in a Mariners' uniform, coming off a strained lat injury that was first supposed to be minor setback, then a six-to-eight week affair, and now this. In the time since Paxton was on the mound the Mariners have seen players come and go, lived through a dangerous eight-game losing streak, and have played the first meaningful baseball they have played in what seems like goddamn forever--and they did all this without an arm that was supposed to be one of the most valuable pieces for the team coming out of spring training. And what else were we to think? In his two starts this year he was holding onto a 9.75 to 1.50 K/9 BB/9 ratio with an xFIP of 2.20, which is Felix-level stuff.
We should, of course, remember that he's been sitting in the dugout since then, rehabbing with various levels of success and even suffering minor setbacks on his road to recovery. Also, of course, two games is by no means an accurate sample size of anything other than not a sample size. In short: don't expect the world tonight. Everyone knows the stuff is there, but it would be unreasonable to expect him to pick back up right where he left off. Unless, of course, he does. Let's just hope someone saw him at breakfast this morning and said hi this time.
In other news, Chris Denorfia will be sitting out at least the early innings of today with Endy getting the start in right field. We could speculate all day long why this is the case, and it feels a little frustrating, but whatever. Save all that energy for waiting for Michael Saunders to return, after which you have to feel this won't be a thing anymore. Unless, of course, it is.
Beavan has been outrighted to Tacoma, and Kendrys slots in at DH with Corey Hart going to the DL for Paxton. Hopefully, the M's will be able to put something together against an Orioles pitcher with a name other than Wei-Yin Chen. Unless, of course, they don't.
- Mariners @ Orioles, 4:05 PM PST
- TV: ROOT, Radio: 710 ESPN, Online: mlb.tv
|SEATTLE MARINERS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Austin Jackson - CF||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Dustin Ackley - LF||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Adam Jones - CF|
|Kendrys Morales - DH||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Kyle Seager - 3B||Delmon Young - LF|
|Logan Morrison - 1B||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Chris Taylor - SS||Steve Pearce - 1B|
|Endy Chavez - RF||Caleb Joseph - C|
|Jesus Sucre - C||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|James Paxton - LHP||Miguel Gonzalez - RHP|