Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Series Preview

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Mar 22, 2015; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) looks on during the game against the Texas Rangers at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Pax, Kuma and Prince Tai on Tap this Week

The M’s normally strong starting pitching was spotty at best this weekend in Oakland. Taijuan Walker was a dud in his first action of the season, and Felix Hernandez looked uncomfortable all afternoon on Sunday. However, J.A. Happ was a revelation, allowing just 2 runs across 6.1 innings of work.

James Paxton will get the ball in the opener on Monday night in Chavez Ravine. Paxton pitched admirably in his first outing, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits across 6 innings. Pax-man was effective at locating his pitches, striking out 5 Angels and walking just 1. I expect more of the same tonight from the imposing southpaw against the Dodgers. Hopefully, the offense will provide the Ladner, BC native with some run support.

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

Hisashi Iwakuma had a rough go of it in his debut outing last week against the Halos at Safeco Field. Iwakuma allowed 4 earned runs on 9 hits across 5 innings last Wednesday. Kuma struggled mightily in the early going, but settled down over his final 3 innings. Without a great fastball, the right-hander has to rely on location and changing speeds. The command just wasn’t there for him last week, but his track record suggests he will find the strike zone better against the Dodgers. I still expect a great season from the Tokyo product, and I project he will notch his first win of the year on Tuesday night.

Things did not go as planned for Tai Walker in his 2015 debut on Friday night in Oakland. Walker was phenomenal in spring training, allowing just 2 runs across 27 innings, but the A’s roughed him up. Prince Tai allowed 9 runs on 9 hits across just 3.1 innings of work. It seemed like everything the A’s hit on Friday night found a hole, and I think luck had a lot to do with his poor outing. Walker will get the ball on Jackie Robinson Day, and I am sure he will be motivated to perform well. Prince Tai grew up about an hour away from Dodger Stadium, and I am sure he will want to pitch well in front of friends and family. Also, Walker is African American, and toeing the rubber with the number 42 stitched on his back will be a special moment for the 22-year-old.

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