James Paxton left in abrupt fashion after pitching five innings against the Los Angeles Angels. Paxton still earned the win and the Seattle Mariners won the game, but they may have lost a quality starting pitcher. Not good.
According to reports, Paxton has a left lat strain. He says he feels fine, but is that just the normal player rhetoric that we have come to expect?
Paxton was quoted as saying:
I want to be careful right now. My strength is still good … we just want to get it checked out. It’s not like it’s really bad — just a little soreness.
It would not be good for the Mariners to lose someone like James Paxton. Sure, Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker are coming back soon, but ideally you would keep everyone healthy throughout the season. Pitching is often about flow, and injuries can play havoc with that flow.
If the offense keeps hitting, the Mariners may be able to absorb a few pitching injuries. A few. The problem is that healthy and consistent starting pitching are a crucial aspect of winning in baseball. Paxton is now 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA, which is what the Mariners need if they are going to contend in 2014.
Hopefully this is just a bit of fatigue and Paxton will be back on the mound soon. The Mariners are 5-2 and there is actually optimism about this team. Robinson Cano, Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley are hitting well, and the offense looks like it is finally turning the corner.
Rest up, Mr. Paxton. Get back on the mound soon.