The Seattle Mariners lost to the Houston Astros 3-2 in extras last night. The offense again failed to do what we wish it would do, but there was a pretty notable bright spot in this game regardless. That bright spot is named James Paxton, and last night he did what we’ve all been waiting for him to do.
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Perhaps you may have heard a thing or two about the Mariners’ rotation struggles early this year. Rather unexpected, given that this was supposed to be one of the very best rotations in the game. Things got off to a rough start, but slowly things have started to get better. And no outing has embodied the team’s turnaround than Paxton last night.
Paxton went seven innings, or 0.1 more than his previous two starts combined. He struck seven in seven frames, making it two straight outings with seven strikeouts. He allowed to runs on two walks and five hits. This was his best outing of the year with ease, whether you’re going off of peripherals or results.
Is there anyone who needed a game like this more than Paxton? Maybe Logan Morrison with his three hits the other day, but this is right there with that. Paxton wasn’t supposed to struggle. Maybe that’s just us being unfair, placing too much on the shoulders of a capable young starter. Or maybe he’s going to put that slow start behind him and be lights out for the rest of the season. Or, you know, forever.
One strong outing from Paxton doesn’t solve the Mariners’ issues. Taijuan Walker‘s got to be right there with Paxton, and Paxton himself has to keep it rolling next time out. It would be great to get a dominant start or two from Roenis Elias before Hisashi Iwakuma comes back. The rotation’s got to go deep, because a restless bullpen makes this team a lot worse, and fast.
During (or after) a rough loss, it can seem painful and pointless to search for positives. James Paxton made it pretty easy during this one, and now we’ve got a great reason to look forward to his next turn in the rotation. Thanks, James!