Mariners Analysis: Pitching Staff Starting to Come Around


Apr 27, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (32) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The story of the beginning of the season for the Seattle Mariners (10-11) was not the lack of offense as years past, but inconsistent (at best) pitching, especially from their starting pitching. This came as a surprise to most because of the expectations.

The exception of course, is the King himself, Felix Hernandez. He is 4-0 and boasts a 1.82 ERA. He has not shown much weakness at all so far this year. A pitcher that has really turned it around in the last week or two has been 22 year-old Taijuan Walker. After a stellar spring, everyone expected him to walk into the season and dominate.

In his first two starts, it was quite the contrary. He didn’t even reach the 5th inning in either of his first two starts while allowing 9 runs and 5 runs respectively. Since those two awful starts, he has posted a 0.73 ERA and struck out 13.

Walker has looked much like his Spring Training self. Hernandez can’t shoulder the load himself if the Mariners are serious about playing deep into October. Walker seems to be figuring things out.

James Paxton has taken a little longer to figure things out after getting tagged for seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings two weeks ago, but his last start was much more promising. He only allowed one earned run and struck out 7 against the Minnesota Twins. He is still a work in progress but seems to be heading in the right direction.

J.A. Happ has proven to be a key acquisition from this past offseason. He has added a veteran presence to the rotation. He has pitched at least into the 7th inning in each of his first four starts. He has not allowed more than two runs and his last start was his best. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed only one earned run while striking out 9.

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One of the other big concerns at the beginning of the year was the lack of consistency from closer Fernando Rodney. He has not allowed an earned run since blowing that save at Dodger Stadium on April 14th. In his 7 innings since then, he has earned 5 saves while striking out 10. He seems to be coming back to his old self as well.

The Mariners need their pitching staff in order to compete in the American League West. It is a long season but for now, it looks as if the kinks are being worked out. We will find out a lot more about this staff as they travel to face the scorching-hot Houston Astros lineup.

Next: Mariners Game Recap: LoMo Carries Seattle to Series Sweep

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