Feb 21, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) throws to first base during camp at Peoria Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Hisashi Iwakuma Makes Spring Debut
Hisashi Iwakuma had a strong season statistically, going 15-9 and recording a 3.52 ERA. His numbers hide the fact that Iwakuma was frustratingly inconsistent in 2014. However, Iwakuma has been one of the best hurlers in the big leagues since his debut in 2012. The 33-year-old has gone 38-20 and posted an impressive 3.07 ERA across 524.0 career innings. Although, he is not considered a power righty, the movement Kuma is able to generate leads to plenty of strikeouts. Known for his incredible command, Kuma has issued just 1.8 walks per 9 innings over the course of his career.
Iwakuma missed the first month of the 2014 season due to injury, but he wasted little time making an impact after being activated from the disabled list. Kuma went 12-6 and recorded a miniscule 2.57 ERA from May 3rd through August 19th. Unfortunately for the M’s, he collapsed down the stretch, going 2-3 and posting a 7.88 ERA across his last 32 innings pitched. Iwakuma surrendered at least 4 earned runs in 6 of his final 7 outings.
Today’s game represents Hisashi Iwakuma’s first chance to show he is still the dominant pitcher who finished third in Cy Young voting in 2013. Without a blow it by you fastball, location will once again be key for Kuma this season. The Tokyo native stumbled last August and September, but I fully anticipate he will re-establish himself as one of the best right-handers in the game this year.
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