Because it’s not an off-day without a little bit of bad news, the Mariners made this announcement today:
It’s been no secret that Marco, after a sterling start to the season, has struggled of late. Some suggested he might be suffering some arm fatigue, barely two years removed from his Tommy John surgery; his 145 innings pitched this season are more than he’s pitched in a single professional year since 2014. From April to July, Marco posted a 22% K-rate with an FIP of 3.34 and a .253 average against. In August, his K% has fallen to just 17% while his FIP has ballooned to 4.65, with a rough .396 average against.
Perhaps it’s been a strained neck that’s been bothering Marco and not just fatigue, although from the brief research (translation: ten minutes of frantic Googling) I did, it seems like cervical sprains are often chronic injuries linked to poor posture or repetitive motions like cradling a phone under one’s ear. While it might take up to eight weeks for a cervical strain to heal completely, the symptoms should disappear in about a week, and are treatable with OTC medications. Perhaps this is just a scheme to get Marco a little extra rest and line him up for a soft landing against the [checks schedule] New York Yankees of New York City. Ah.
Meanwhile, James Paxton will return from the DL in time for the series against Oakland, setting up Pax, LeBlanc, Leake, and Félix to fill out the rotation against the A’s, with Erasmo Ramirez able to step in to cover Marco’s start on Wednesday. However, some of us at LL HQ, including pitching maven Jake Mailhot, think it might be better to punt Wednesday with a bullpen day or a Christian Bergman spot start, and put Erasmo—who has been excellent since coming off the DL, and has maybe the freshest arm of the bunch—in line for a start against the red-hot A’s. (John Trupin, who loves watching pitchers who can actually hit take ABs, also would like you to pause for a moment and reflect sadly on not getting to see Marco, John Olerud Two-Way Player Award Winner, swing a bat at Petco.)
In Marco’s place, the joyful smile of Guillermo Heredia will return from Tacoma, and perhaps not a moment too soon:
Heredia had a tough time in the PCL. He got hit by a pitch in three straight games, then fouled a ball off his ankle on Saturday, leaving the game halfway through. On Sunday he rested. https://t.co/F4nek5z80K— Mike Curto (@CurtoWorld) August 27, 2018
Oddly Biblical phrasing aside, I’m sure Guillermo will be extra-happy to be back with the big club. Hopefully he spent some time supercharging his bat on Tacoma’s less-taxed bat chargers.