Taijuan Walker makes his second big league start. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Walker will be on a similar pitch count to his big league debut – around 70 pitches.
Because the Mariners are trying to control Walker’s overall innings count. He’s thrown 146 1/3 innings this season and they don’t want him to exceed 160 innings. But they do want him to start on Tuesday at Safeco Field. So that’s their reasoning for the shortened pitch counts.
Pretty standard line-up today. Nick Franklin has been moved down in the order, which man folks on Twitter wanted to see. Not sure what Michael Saunders has done to lose his playing time. He’s started just 12 of the last 23 games. There has been the stiff neck and the tight hamstring issues, but it seems a little odd that he isn’t playing more.
At this point, I think there is some genuine concern around the organization that this team is going to lose more than 90 games, which I think is a given.
The Mariners are 62-76. There’s 24 games remaining. That means they have to go 11-13 to avoid losing 90 games. Nothing I’ve seen in recent weeks tells me that is going to happen.
The six-man rotation and innings limits means less starts for Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. And there’s a possibility of Hector Noesi actually starting a game.
Also the hitting seems to be regressing as the season progresses. Over the last four games, the Mariners are 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position. They are hitting .231 with a .375 slugging percentage with runners in scoring position this season. That’s second worst batting average in the American League. The only team worse is the Minnesota Twins. Yes, even the Houston Astros (.242) do better with runners in scoring position. It’s the third worst slugging percentage with runners in scoring position. Only Kansas City and Minnesota are worse.