By Eric Umphrey
The Times 

Recapping the Mariners season start


April 15, 2021

The Mariners have started off the season going 5-4 through the first nine games. They have won series against the San Francisco Giants and Minnesota Twins. They lost a series to the Chicago White Sox, a team that several baseball analysts are picking to win the central division this year. An odd scheduling quirk has the Mariners playing their first American League West team on April 16. Most teams have already played teams within their division by this point in the season. Also, the Mariner’s schedule is backloaded, with twenty-five of the thirty-eight games against the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics coming in the second half of the season.

Kyle Seager is off to a good start, and last Sunday had a four-hit game against the Twins which included two home runs to help the Mariners come from behind to win 8-6. Ty France is leading the team in batting average and on-base percentage. Mitch Haniger is back, healthy, and playing well. He already has two home runs on the season and helped the Mariners win a game in the tenth inning with a go-ahead sacrifice fly. Kyle Lewis, 2020 Rookie of the Year, has started the season on the ten-day injured list with a knee bruise but has not had any setbacks and could return to the lineup soon.

Once again, the weakness on this team appears to be pitching. Seattle’s offense is scoring 4.5 runs per game while giving up 5.7 runs. Yusei Kikuchi has both of Seattle’s quality starts and has looked good early on. Chris Flexen is the only starting pitcher on the team with a win, and staff “ace” Marco Gonzales has given up twelve runs in 10.3 innings pitched over his first two starts.

James Paxton is currently on the ten-day injured list. He is seeking a second opinion after MRI results suggest he may need ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction known as Tommy John surgery. Paxton left his first start of the season in the second inning due to left elbow discomfort. Nick Margevicius will take Paxton’s spot in the rotation for now. If Paxton does decide on the UCL surgery, he won’t pitch until sometime in 2022. Since his contract with the Mariners is for one year, he will unlikely pitch for them again. This is a huge hit to the starting rotation since Paxton had looked good in spring training and had seen his fastball velocity return to 97 miles per hour.


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