I hope you are all enjoying the final day of 2016, because I’m about to ruin it with a look at the Mariners’ worst starting pitching outings over the past season. We’re going to laugh. We’re going to cry. We’re mainly going to cry. We might laugh about how much we’re crying, but it’s going to be about eighty-five percent crying.
Here we go.
10. Taijuan Walker vs Minnesota Twins – May 29th
- Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 2 BB, 3 K
- Peripherals: 12.84 FIP, 7.68 xFIP, .231 BABIP
- Game Score (v2.0): 20
- Final: Twins 5 - Mariners 4
The first of two ugly outings in that cold, dark sweep against the Twins in late May. It is also the first of Walker’s three appearances on this list.
Miguel Sano, Robbie Grossman, and Joe Mauer would all go deep in the losing effort. On Little League Day at the ballpark, Walker taught all the young, impressionable pitchers a very important lesson: never leave a pitch to Miguel Sano in this location:
Not a single one of those little leaguers would go on to surrender a home run to Miguel Sano the rest of the year. Good on you, Mr. Walker.
9. Wade Miley vs Minnesota Twins – May 28th
- Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 4 BB, 6 K
- Peripherals: 12.90 FIP, 5.64 xFIP, .375 BABIP, 27.3 GB%
- Game Score (v2.0): 17
- Final: Twins 6 - Mariners 5
This whole game was stupid. Between Wade Miley channeling his inner Garrett Olson and the game-ending double play to end all game-ending double plays, this was the kind of performance art that leaves you questioning your love for this ridiculous game entirely.
It was supposed to be Salute to Kids Night at Safeco Field, but the Mariners decided to bite their thumbs at every darn toddler in the stadium instead. I mean...
Life is bad, kiddos. The good guys never win. Get your t-shirt and get out of here.
8. Hisashi Iwakuma vs Toronto Blue Jays – September 20th
- Line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, BB, 5 K
- Peripherals: 8.85 FIP, 3.05 xFIP, .600 BABIP, 25.0 GB%
- Game Score (v2.0): 17
- Final: Blue Jays 10 - Mariners 2
In case losing to former Mariner J.A. Happ in a crucial game late in the season wasn’t bad enough, we all got to sit and watch as Hisashi Iwakuma gave up hit after hit after hit after hit after hit.
The contest started out promising enough, as Iwakuma navigated the first three innings with ease. A second-inning walk was immediately erased by a double play and two singles proved harmless in the third. Then the fourth inning came and everything went to hell and back.
Jose Bautista singled. Russell Martin homered. Troy Tulowitzki singled. Old friend Michael Saunders homered. Kevin Pillar doubled. Ezequiel Carrera singled. Iwakuma was replaced with Nick Vincent. The Mariners did not win.
7. Felix Hernandez at Oakland Athletics – May 4th
- Line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 8 R (4 ER), HR, K
- Peripherals: 5.90 FIP, 5.56 xFIP, .400 BABIP, 13.2 LOB%
- Game Score (v2.0): 17
- Final: Mariners 9 - Athletics 8
This outcome was weird considering Felix entered the game with 672 consecutive scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics (do not fact check). After the Mariners rallied in the 5th to seize a 4-2 lead, the King and the rest of the Mariners fell to pieces.
It started out with four consecutive singles, including a bunt single by (who else?) Billy Burns. Then the following happened:
Sometimes baseball is dumb and sometimes baseball is moronic and sometimes baseball goes above the call of duty and the above happens.
Fortunately for the Mariners, this one had a happy ending:
6. Taijuan Walker at Texas Rangers – June 3rd
- Line: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 2 K
- Peripherals: 9.95 FIP, 6.75 xFIP, .389 BABIP
- Game Score (v2.0): 16
- Final: Mariners 3 - Rangers 7
This start was the follow up to Walker’s disastrous start against the Twins mentioned above. A wonky Walker wildly whipping baseballs in Texas was a recipe for disaster and so it was: disastrous.
Adrian Beltre drove in five of the six earned runs, pelting a three-run homer in the first and a two-run double in the third. A Jurickson Profar dinger an inning later provided the sixth run. He barely avoided further damage in the fifth after a double and two walks led to a bases-loaded, one-out situation.
5. Wade Miley at San Diego Padres – June 2nd
- Line: 4.2 IP, 12 H, 9 R (9 ER), 2 BB, 2 K
- Peripherals: 3.58 FIP, 5.36 xFIP, .522 BABIP, 52.2 GB%
- Game Score (v2.0): 15
- Final: Mariners 16 - Padres 13
THIS WAS THE GAME WITH THE GIGANTIC COMEBACK AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS. THE WADE MILEY START NEVER HAPPENED.
4. Felix Hernandez vs Houston Astros – September 16th
- Line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R (5 ER), 2 HR, 3 BB, 3 K
- Peripherals: 9.84 FIP, 6.15 xFIP, .412 BABIP, 29.4 GB%
- Game Score (v2.0): 15
- Final: Astros 6 - Mariners 0
Honestly, I’m shocked we don’t see the Astros more on this list considering every single game against them was a lesson in misery and gloom and how to make your black mourning attire flow with your Mariner gear.
The damage was steady, as the King surrendered two runs in the 2nd, another in the 3rd, one more in the 4th, and the final two in the 5th. In just 4.1 innings, twelve Astros reached base. That amounts to 48% of the batters Felix faced. Yikes.
3. Hisashi Iwakuma at Detroit Tigers – June 22nd
- Line: 4.2 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 3 BB, 5 K
- Peripherals: 11.29 FIP, 5.43 xFIP, .500 BABIP, 42.9 HR/FB%
- Game Score (v2.0): 12
- Final: Mariners 1 - Tigers 5
This game included 40% of the home runs hit by Steven Moya in 2016, as the 6’7, 260-pound outfielder took Iwakuma deep twice in the contest. I could sit here and blame the .500 BABIP for the ugly line from Iwakuma, but he was hit hard and hit often all game long.
2. James Paxton at San Diego Padres – June 1st
- Line: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R (3 ER), 2 HR, BB, 7 K
- Peripherals: 7.24 FIP, 1.96 xFIP, .571 BABIP, 50.0 HR/FB%
- Game Score (v2.0): 11
- Final: Mariners 6 - Padres 14
James Paxton had a wonderful 2016 season full of spectacular outings and riveting moments and periods of sheer dominance. His debut, however, was a different story. While we were ooh’ing and ahh’ing over his newfound ability to throw the ball like he had a freaking beam rifle attached to his shoulder, the Padres were hosting a Phil’s BBQ-esque feast at the plate.
The vast majority of the damage was done in the first inning, when Paxton surrendered dingers to Wil Myers and Adam Rosales. Sandwiched in between the blasts was a throwing error by Paxton, a sac fly by Derek Norris, and a RBI single by Alexei Ramirez in what might’ve been Ramirez’s only base hit and RBI of the season.
Paxton surrendered another run in the second on a Matt Kemp RBI single. Two innings later, Alexei Ramirez would hit his second home run of the season. I suppose I lied three sentences ago. Fortunately for Paxton, he didn’t actually give up the Ramirez homer (that honor goes to Joel Peralta), he simply had another run tacked onto his line as a result of the runner on first scoring on the play.
1. Taijuan Walker vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – September 3rd
- Line: 0.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R (5 ER), 3 HR, K
- Peripherals: 63.15 FIP, 14.64 xFIP, .600 BABIP, 75.0 HR/FB%
- Game Score (v2.0): -3
- Final: Angels 10 - Mariners 3
The Mariners entered this one with a 69-65 record and fading playoff hopes. Their victory the day before, an 11-8 conquering of the Angels, represented just their second win over their last ten games. Seattle needed a spark to get back in the race and this particular Saturday night seemed like a prime time to get things rolling. The Angels, despite their Mike Trout-filled lineup, were bad. Starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs had been wobbly since returning to the rotation. The Mariners were running a ‘Guys Night Out’ ticket promotion. There was no way things could go wrong.
May the rest of your year go swimmingly. Tomorrow, things will be a little brighter here at Lookout Landing. I promise.