In today’s not-surprising news, the Mariners have optioned Cody Martin, RHP and brave little toaster, back to Tacoma, and brought back struggling RHP Taijuan Walker. That anguished sound you hear is Peter Woodburn retreating to the forest to mourn his fallen Zag.
Cody Martin struggled valiantly in the two starts he made for the Mariners, giving up seven hits but issuing just two walks each time. The difference between last night and the start against the Angels on 8/17 was the longball—after giving up no dingers against the Cerebus of Calhoun, Trout and Pujols, Gary Sánchez and Starlin Castro each burned him for two last night. He did have five strikeouts vs. just two against the Angels, so that’s an encouraging sign. Cody Martin, long reliever, is probably a reasonable assumption—and in fact a role he has played, again against the Angels back on August 6th, when the man who’s being called up to replace him got lit up over four innings to the tune of 7 hits, 6 runs, and zero strikeouts. (The Mariners still won that game because #GriffeyMagic.)
Speaking of Taijuan, he was sent down to Tacoma after his disastrous outing against the Angels, the first after a lengthy stint on the DL for an uncooperative foot. In his first outing in Tacoma on the 13th, he made it just over four innings against the Memphis Redbirds, giving up 6 hits and 4 runs while striking out 3 and issuing 4 walks to players named things like Breyvic and Wisdom. He pulled it together in his next start on the 18th, though, going 6.1 shutout innings against a good Nashville team while only allowing 3 hits and striking out 2. He also cut his walks in half, to just 2, although the walks are something to keep an eye on. Hopefully this outing will serve as a shot of confidence and Tai will be able to translate some of the success up to the big leagues. It’s a woefully short time to have been down there, and almost impossible to institute any real, meaningful change, but at this point calling up Walker is the best of a host of bad options. Making an ESPN-televised start against arguably the most high-profile team in baseball is certainly not the gentle on-road that Zunino or Paxton enjoyed in their transition back from Tacoma, but here’s hoping Tai will thrive under the bright lights. (Or, like, at least pitch better than Joe Wieland would. [extremely Edgar voice]: It’s a low bar!)