Mariners Game Preview: James Paxton gets the Ball in Opener

Feb 27, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) poses for a photo during media day at Peoria Sports Complex . Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton (65) poses for a photo during media day at Peoria Sports Complex . Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Pax-Man will toe the rubber for Seattle in their Cactus League opener on Wednesday in Peoria

The Seattle Mariners will play host to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon in Peoria, AZ. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 pm at the Peoria Sports Complex. The M’s and Padres both share the PSC, and proceeds from today’s game will be donated to charity. James Paxton will make his first start of the spring for Seattle, and Robbie Erlin will be on the bump for the visitors.

More from Mariners News

As we discussed yesterday, today’s Cactus League lid-lifter will not be televised. However, Mariners’ fans in the Pacific Northwest can listen live on 710 ESPN. subscribers can also listen along on connected devices.

Mariners’ rookie skipper Scott Servais and Padres’ boss Andy Green have released the following lineups for today’s game:

It’s interesting to note that Kyle Seager is hitting out of the number two spot on Wednesday. Seattle has worked hard to lengthen their lineup this offseason, and it was assumed by many that Seager would hit fifth this season. Ketel Marte was expected to hit behind Nori Aoki and in front of Robinson Cano, but obviously Servais has other ideas. When hitting second in the lineup, Seager hit .261 with 14 home runs and 35 RBI last year.

Wednesday’s game is the first opportunity for fans to see (at least in pictures) newcomers like Nori Aoki, Adam Lind, Chris Iannetta and Leonys Martin wearing Northwest Green in an actual game. The new regime in Seattle is hopeful they have built a roster that can contend in the American League West. It should be interesting to see how the new faces play this afternoon in Peoria.

2015 was a hard season for James Paxton and the Seattle Mariners. Pax-Man was plagued by finger issues, and was limited to just 13 starts. The big southpaw was effective when healthy last season, going 3-4 with a 3.90 ERA across 67 innings pitched. The Ladner, BC product has shed 20 pounds this offseason in hopes of staying healthy in 2016. Paxton is battling Nate Karns for the final spot in the M’s opening day rotation, and today will be his first chance to impress the new coaching staff.

On a side note, former Mariner prospect Jabari Blash will bat 8th and serve as the Padres’ designated hitter today. San Diego selected Blash in the Rule 5 draft this offseason after the M’s inexplicably left him off their 40-man roster. The 26-year-old slugger launched 32 home runs last season with the Jackson Generals and Tacoma Rainiers. My guess is the Mariners will regret the decision to expose him to the Rule 5, and Blash could make his former organization pay this afternoon.

More from SoDo Mojo

The Mariners are eager to put the 2015 season behind them. There were high expectations last year, and the M’s failed to live up to the hype. 2016 is a chance for Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager to make a statement. It’s impossible to say whether Seattle will reach the postseason, but I’m hopeful that fans are treated to a more competitive brand of baseball at the corner of Edgar & Dave this season.

It’s been a long winter, but baseball is finally back! Spring training is a hopeful time of year for baseball fans, thus March is always fun to watch. I’ll leave you with a poem by famed poet, Donald Hall, entitled, “The old Game.”

"“The old game waits under the white,Deeper than frozen grass.Down at the frost line it waitsTo return when the birds return.It starts to wake in the South,Where it’s never quite stopped.Where winter is a doze of hibernation,The game wakes gradually,Fathering vigor into itself. As the days lengthen in late FebruaryAnd grow warmer, old muscles grow limber.Young arms grow strong and wild,Clogged vein systems, in veteran oak and left fielders both,Unstop themselves,Putting forth leaves and line drives in Florida’s March.Migrating North with the swallows,Baseball and the grasses’ first green,Enter Cleveland , Kansas City, Boston.”"

Next: Spring Training Numbers Mean Absolutely Nothing

Be sure to follow SoDo Mojo on twitter as we will be live tweeting today’s game. Also, check back with us tonight for a recap of Wednesday’s game. It’s going to be fun ride, go Mariners!