UPDATE: Well, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Erasmo Ramirez will indeed get the start Tuesday for Seattle and barring a trade (which seems to be a likely possibility), Tom Wilhelmsen is option A for Wednesday. Manager Lloyd McClendon didn’t say much about the Ramirez decision, deciding instead to talk about giving Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez another day of rest.
“Nothing’s changed,” said McClendon. “I said the same thing all year, when I get an opportunity to give them extra days, I’ll do it. I think one of the telltale signs is (Iwakuma) came off the break, threw 77 pitches and was a little fatigued.”
Ramirez is 1-4 with a 4.58 ERA in 11 starts this year for Seattle. He has also been demoted to the minors twice and has not received favorable praise from his manager, two reasons why the decision to go with him Tuesday was a little surprising. Although, now we know why Ramirez went Thursday for the Rainiers rather than Taijuan Walker. Walker, it appears, is destined for a few more starts in Triple-A at minimum.
A roster move will have to be made to recall Ramirez in the next day. Expect Stefen Romero to head down.
It is yet another sunshine-filled afternoon at Safeco where the Mariners prepare to take on the New York Mets in a three-game interleague series. They will be looking to rebound after dropping two of three games to the Angels, a series that saw each game decided by one run and two of the three go to extra innings. The close series against the hottest team in baseball at the moment, should give the Mariners a lot of confidence as the second half gets underway.
The news surrounding the team Monday deals with the pitching staff, primarily the rotation. The Mariners will trot rookie right-hander Roenis Elias out against the Mets for game 1, but both games 2 and 3 currently have the starter listed as “TBA”. That is something, I’m sure, McClendon will address shortly during his pre-game media session, and represents a change from what we knew postgame Sunday.
McClendon, of course, turned a few heads when he announced just the first four starters for the second half, leaving his fifth starter as “TBA” prior to the All-Star break. That starter was presumed to be the rookie Walker who pitched twice in Triple-A to stay busy during the break. Those beliefs were thrown out the window when Walker’s second start was made on Friday as opposed to the scheduled Thursday which would have kept him in line to take the No. 5 spot on Tuesday. But now, considering McClendon likes Brandon Maurer in the pen (and he hasn’t pitched longer than two innings since being sent down to the minors in June) and doesn’t like Ramirez at all, there doesn’t seem to be any other option than going with Tom Wilhelmsen in that spot Tuesday.
Wilhelmsen last pitched in the 16 inning game Friday, going four innings and just over 50 pitches. That should allow him to pitch five or possibly even six innings Tuesday.
So all good, right? Well, beyond the fact that Wilhelmsen will then have seen his last three outings be a start of 2.2 innings, a relief outing of four innings, and a start of possibly five or six, it seems like he’s headed for a permanent spot in the rotation. That would be fine except that James Paxton is nearing a return and Walker would like to be in the Mariners’ rotation as well. The curious thing is that the Wednesday start is open with Iwakuma and the next cycle of the rotation starting Thursday.
It would appear that sliding that cycle back a day opens up a spot for Walker to enter the rotation. That would be my guess, because again, what other option does McClendon have? Paxton pitched just 2.2 innings in his first minor-league rehab start in Everett and is in line to pitch Tuesday in Tacoma. That certainly doesn’t seem to make him ready for a start this week for Seattle, but then stranger things have happened.
Here is the lineup the M’s will throw at LHP Jonathon Niese (5-5, 2.96):
1. Willie Bloomquist ss
2. James Jones (L) cf
3. Robinson Cano (L) 2b
4. Kyle Seager (L) 3b
5. Stefen Romero rf
6. Justin Smoak (s) 1b
7. Corey Hart dh
8. Dustin Ackley (L) lf
9. Mike Zunino c
rhp Roenis Elias (7-8, 4.54)
– LHP James Paxton threw 42 pitches in his outing with the AquaSox Thursday. He will indeed pitch Tuesday in Tacoma with an eye on getting to 60 pitches. He said everything went well in Everett (2.2 2 runs, 2 strikeouts), felt no pain and is looking forward to Tuesday. At 60 pitches, it appears Paxton will get at least two more minor-league rehab outings beyond Tuesday.
– Both relievers Tom Wilhelmsen and Danny Farquhar are available for game 1 versus the Mets. On the other hand, Fernando Rodney is unavailable. Wilhelmsen is one of the options to start Wednesday so if he doesn’t get used that will be why. McClendon said he could go five innings and 60-70 pitches now.
– Robinson Cano is back in the lineup and McClendon said he’s fine.