Every Sunday we will spotlight a current or former Seattle athlete (professional or college) that is performing well recently or did something significant in the past.
Since coming back from a long stint on the DL, James Paxton has performed very well for these streaking Mariners. In one of the biggest games and easily the biggest series of the year (so far), Paxton shut down the Detroit Tigers on Friday, going six innings and only allowing one run on five hits. Overall, he has a record of 3-0 with an ERA of 2.20.
Paxton’s over-the-top, lefty delivery makes it difficult for hitters to see the ball early, and is a huge reason for his success thus far in the big leagues. His fastball reaches the mid-to-upper 90’s and he has a devastating curveball to lefty hitters. With the M’s in the midst of a playoff race, Paxton will be called upon to pitch well nearly every time out. If the offense can give him three-plus runs, expect Paxton and the Mariners to end up in the win column.
Paxton’s next start on Wednesday at Philadelphia will have him matched up against a fellow-lefty in Cole Hamels. It could be a tough outing for the M’s offense because they tend to struggle against lefties – they only managed three hits off David Price. That means James will have to bring his best stuff if the Mariners hope to win.
Having Paxton back means the Mariners now have four solid starters the rest of the way (the fifth spot is up for grabs, but Roenis Elias will start on Monday at Philadelphia), barring injury, in Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Chris Young, and Paxton. That is a playoff rotation – no doubt. Be excited Mariners fans. Be very, very excited.