Despite suffering a nightmare with injuries to their rotation this season, the Seattle Mariners are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
On the surface, the Seattle Mariners‘ 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox may not seem like much. After all, they still lost the weekend series and are currently 13 games behind a Houston Astros team with the best record in the Majors.
However, if you dig a little deeper, the Mariners’ win on Sunday means a lot, especially given all the injuries they’ve already suffered this season. In fact, the fact they enter Monday’s games with a 22-29 record can be considered somewhat of a minor miracle.
As things stand, the M’s are just 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. Of course, this is a perspective thing, which some people still pointing to the fact they currently have the second-worst record in the American League.
However, whether you’re an optimist, realist or pessimist, one thing is clear – help is on the way. And as long as the ridiculous amount of injuries is not a constant throughout the remainder of 2017, a playoff spot is still very much in play.
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This is a talented Mariners’ roster, but it doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you are missing four members of your regular starting rotation. In that respect, it seems like the M’s are about to receive a positive change in their fortunes on the casualty front.
Paxton came through a rehab outing last Friday with no ill effects, after throwing 55 pitches over four innings. The 28-year old had been the Mariners’ best starter, prior to suffering a Grade 1 strain to his left forearm.
The next pitcher taking a step in the right direction is Felix Hernandez, who was placed on the DL on April 26 with bursitis in his right shoulder. At the time, he was expected to miss 3-4 weeks, which has now passed.
However, as reported by Johns, at least Hernandez is headed in the right direction, after throwing a successful 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. He’s scheduled for another session early this week and as long as it goes well, he should be cleared to throw to live hitters.
As per the narrative for the Mariners’ season up to this point though, it can’t all be positive news in respect of the rotation. Along with Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma also threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday, but it did not go quite as well.
As reported by Johns, Iwakuma was not too happy with his session at Fenway Park. When ask about his right shoulder, he said:
"“It’s the first bullpen, so it’s hard to say. I just have to make progress and move forward…I think it’s OK. It’s not perfect, but it is what it is. I feel OK. I would like to move forward. Hopefully it will get better.”"
As things stand, there is no timeline for Iwakuma’s expected return to the rotation. Overall though, as Mariners’ manager Scott Servais said, the club is finally “starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.”
How encouraged are you by the latest news regarding the Mariners’ rotation? Are you optimistic about their chances of challenging for the playoffs, or have you already written off this season? Share your thoughts in the comments section.