Mariners Game Notes: James Paxton Looks to Stay Hot in Canada


The Seattle Mariners (19-22) will take on the Toronto Blue Jays (19-25) in a Saturday matinee this afternoon north of the border. First pitch is scheduled for 10:07 am PT from the Rogers Centre in T.O. James Paxton (2-2, 3.59 ERA) will take the mound for the M’s in his home country for the 2nd time in his career. Veteran southpaw Mark Buehrle (5-3, 5.36 ERA) will be tasked with evening the series for the Jays. Root Sports Northwest will broadcast the game live, and subscribers can watch on connected devices.

The M’s inched closer to the American League West leading Houston Astros with the win last night. Seattle currently resides in 3rd place in the AL West, 7.0 games back of the Astros.

Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon and Blue Jays’ boss John Gibbons have released the following lineups for today’s game:

The Mariners’ are opting to go with a right-handed heavy lineup today against the lefty, Mark Buehrle. Rickie Weeks, Willie Bloomquist and Justin Ruggiano were not in the lineup on Friday, but are in the M’s starting 9 this afternoon. Weeks has struggled in his first season in Seattle, hitting .185 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI’s across 65 at bats. However, the 32-year-old is 1 of 4 Mariners to hit over .300 with runners in scoring position. Bloomquist is just 6 for 34 this season at the plate, and his roster spot is in danger due to Brad Miller‘s ability to fill the utility role. Ruggiano has hit .222 on the season with 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s. However, the versatile outfielder has been a hot hitter recently, posting a .400 average with 1 home run and 2 RBI’s over his last 4 games.

Mariners’ Offense Sputtering

Much has been made about the resurgence of the M’s pitching staff, and deservingly so. Seattle has held the opposition to 4 runs or less in 13 of their last 16 games, and their starting pitchers have posted the lowest combined ERA in baseball over the past month. However, the club is still having trouble winning. We briefly discussed their struggles with runners in scoring position yesterday, but the M’s have scored 5 runs or more just 3 times in their last 16 games. Despite clubbing 52 home runs collectively this season, 39 have been of the solo variety. Seattle has plenty of pop, but their .298 on base percentage ranks 27th in baseball. In order for the M’s to make a playoff push, the offense has to start pulling it’s weight.

Pick to Click

James Paxton is my pick to click today. Paxman had a rough start to his season, but has gone 2-1 with a 1.38 ERA over his last 5 outings. Paxton hails from Ladner, BC and today will mark his 2nd career start in his homeland. As a Canadian myself, I can fully understand the importance of today’s start to the 26-year-old southpaw, but I think sometimes too much is made about this. Ladner is a 2 hour drive from Safeco Field, and Toronto is a 3 hour flight from Vancouver. Paxman is significantly closer to home every time he toes the rubber in Seattle. Yes, Toronto is in Canada, but that is where the sentimentality ends. With that being said, I expect to see Paxton perform well in front of his county men, pitching 7 innings of 1 run ball.

Final Score Prediction

More from Mariners News

The Mariners have a great opportunity to take the first 2 games of this series. Mark Buehrle is an aging vet, and James Paxton is one of the best hurlers in baseball over the past month. The offense will be key, but Paxton has received quality run support in each of his last 2 starts. Hopefully this continues today in Toronto. I predict the Mariners will wipe the floor with the slumping Blue Jays, winning 5-1 at the Roger Centre.

Be sure to check back with SoDo Mojo after the game for a full recap of the Mariners’ victory over the Blue Jays. (Fingers crossed!)

Next: Mariners Game Recap: King Felix Goes Blue Jay Hunting, M’s Win 4-3

More from SoDo Mojo