Mariners Drop Game and Series – 3 Observations

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Apr 8, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (18) throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Hisashi Iwakuma Disappoints in 2015 Debut

Hisashi Iwakuma’s typical pinpoint command was nowhere to be found in the first 2 innings on Wednesday night at Safeco Field. He was missing up in the zone consistently, and it came back to bite him. Kuma allowed 5 runs on 9 hits across 6 innings of work. He fared much better over his final 3 innings, but it was not enough to salvage the start.

The 33-year-old right-hander posted a 7.88 ERA over his final 7 starts in 2014, and tonight’s poor showing did little to quiet the doubters. Kuma is not going to blow it past anyone, and he has to use his brains to get hitters out. He has to rely on location, movement and changing speeds to be effective. His split finger was moving better from the 3rd inning on, but in his next outing he has to pitch better.

Iwakuma is one of the best pitchers the Mariners have, and a strong year from him will be critical to the M’s playoff hopes. He will get an opportunity to forget about tonight’s outing next week against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Next: Brad Miller’s Hot Start to the Season