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Edwin Diaz removed after two innings, Generals play sixteen more

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"The Generals are going to play forever, aren't they?" asked Piglet. "Even longer," said Pooh.

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Before we dive into the depths of the unknown and flock through the fields of speculation and plunge into the caverns of concern, let's discuss what we do know.

We do know that the Jackson Generals played eighteen innings on Friday night in a 4-2 loss to the Jacksonville Suns. The game was either a masterful duel between two pitching staffs or an extensive gallery of offensive ineptitude, depending on how you look at it. We know Tyler O'Neill had two hits and a RBI, because all Tyler O'Neill does is get hits. We know that from the seventh to the seventeenth innings, a grand total of zero runs were scored because sometimes the BABIP Gods get bored and decide to hold elaborate social experiments. We know that Emilio Pagan struck out five in two innings and that he's probably ready to ship up to Tacoma so he can start striking out an assortment of Bees and Isotopes and Rivercats and whatever the hell else is running loose in the wilderness of the Pacific Coast League nowadays.

We know that Matt Anderson, a guy who has only had to throw four or more innings in a single appearance just once since the start of the 2014 season, tossed four shutout innings. And finally, we know that Forrest Snow was the pitcher who finally cracked, allowing two runs in the top of the eighteenth in what had to have been one of the more devastating and yet one of the more welcomed losses of the season for the Generals.

There was a whole bunch of weird crap that happened in this game, and the weirdest of it all falls under the category of the briefly unknown. Edwin Diaz, the hard-throwing righty who has cemented himself at the top of just about any up-to-date Mariners top prospect list, was pulled from the game after just two innings (or, 43 pitches). Any time a top prospect is removed from a game this early, there are three obvious routes taken by the brain:

  1. "Oh god oh god oh god I bet his arm fell off. It's probably going to be just like that horror story with the girl and the ribbon around her neck. Once they remove his jersey his arm is just gonna fall right the hell off. Why us? Why this team? Why does everything we emotionally invest in turn to ashes?"
  2. "Diaz is absolutely headlining that package for Freddie Freeman. Oh, man, imagine a lineup so good that Kyle Seager is justifiably batting sixth! I guess I'll miss Lind being all goofy every single time the camera cuts to him, but my goodness am I ready for some Freddie Freeman in my life."
  3. "Hey, I can go watch Diaz pitch in Tacoma now."
Thankfully, all reports seem to have canceled out option number one. Every single reporter/broadcaster/person/thing at the game reported that he seemed to be very upbeat after getting pulled. I've seen some weird things happen in baseball, but I've never seen a pitcher look considerably happy immediately after an injury.

Option number two is probably unlikely on account of I just made it all up on the spot with zero supporting evidence aside from my beating heart.

Option number three is the most plausible of the three, but even that is potentially wrong. We can start out with a couple tweets from Ryan Divish and Jason Churchill and attempt to piece it together from there:

There's a chance the Mariners weren't/aren't sure of how serious Walker's neck injury is and just wanted to have Diaz ready in the event of Walker going to the DL and Paxton joining the Mariners. Perhaps the Mariners figured they'd be desperate for a fresh arm in the bullpen and plan to call upon Donn Roach to convert back to a relief pitcher, with Diaz taking Roach's spot in Tacoma's rotation. There are a lot of moving parts here and until we get official word from someone in the organization, there aren't a whole lot of certainties involved. I would expect someone such as Dylan Unsworth to be the emergency "take a spot in the Tacoma rotation" type of pitcher, but perhaps the Mariners–

You know what? This is confusing. Someone just get the DIPOTUS on the phone and demand an answer. Really, though, this may not be a big deal if Walker's neck is fine. Things may go on tomorrow like nothing ever happened and we'll all laugh.

Now, finally, it's time for some more notes from the farm system:

  • Drew Jackson over his last six games with High-A Bakersfield: 11 for 25, 2 walks, 4 RBIs, 3 doubles, a triple, and a stolen base. After a somewhat lukewarm start, the 2015 Northwest League MVP has caught fire.
  • Jay Baum slipped off the radar after a poor 2015 season, but a big start to the year has him popping up on twitter feeds and game recaps at a rapid pace. Through 24 games, Baum has posted a line of .296/.367/.459 with a .168 ISO. It's worth noting that this is a repeat year for him in Bakersfield, but it's an exciting development, regardless.
  • Something neat is going on with Tyler Herb in Bakersfield. Through 4 starts this season, he has nearly doubled his 2015 k-rate to 11.9 k/9 while cutting down on walks. He's surrendered 13 hits and 7 runs in his last two outings, so it's not like he's suddenly warped into an overpowering, untouchable pitcher, but a pitcher with this dramatically positive of a shift in numbers deserves our attention moving forward.
  • Down in Class-A Clinton, Kyle Wilcox continues to perplex. The good news is that he's only surrendered 2 hits in his last ten innings. The bad news is he has walked eight in those ten innings, including seven in four innings tonight. Developing command will be key for Wilcox moving forward. His stuff is so good and he's still relatively new to the art of the being a pitcher.
  • Dalton Kelly just keeps on doing things. The light-hitting first baseman has turned into the most dependable player in the LumberKings' lineup, slashing .350/.445/.460 over 100 at-bats. He could be looking at a call up to Bakersfield soon, where Justin Seager and 25-year-old Kyle Petty occupy the DH and 1B positions.
  • Nick Wells has been better after a rough start to the season in Clinton, surrendering just 4 ER in 16.2 IP.
  • Ryan Horstman struck out two in a perfect inning in his debut with Double-A Jackson. He now has 25 strikeouts in 14.2 IP and when this season is all over we're probably going to be laughing at the fact that some poor High-A hitters had to actually attempt to get a hit off of him in the beginning of the year.
  • James Paxton turned in another impressive outing for Triple-A Tacoma, striking out seven and allowing just four hits and a run in seven innings. Paxton has given up just two earned runs in his last 24.1 innings and is starting to look like a legitimate major league pitcher again. Every team should expect to use anywhere from eight to ten starting pitchers over the course of a season, so this is a wonderful development.
  • Shawn O'Malley's recent hot streak has him up to .333/.414/.467. Chris Taylor sits at .318/.392/.523. Should the Mariners decide that Luis Sardinas needs consistent at-bats down in Tacoma, one of those two would likely be coming up. O'Malley has the outfield experience and Taylor gives you a reliable backup shortstop.