The Seattle Mariners haven’t lost a lot of games on the road trip due to starting pitching. But one game is enough to ruin a season and there are two alterations the Mariners should make right now.
Marco Gonzales just isn’t getting it done right now. He’s not all the way back to where he was pre-surgery, and that’s OK. It’s not OK to run him out there again in five days.
That start should go to Sam Gaviglio.
At that point Gaviglio will have five full days of rest — he started Sunday for Triple-A Tacoma and threw 79 pitches.
Rosters can be expanded September 1 so there’s no need to send Gonzales back to the minors, but if the club has a slew of other arms coming up anyway, there may be no room for the lefty; teams literally don’t have room for 20-plus pitchers, so not every potentially-useful arm can be on the roster.
Gaviglio has a better chance to get out of jams with the double-play ball. It’s a marginal upgrade, but an upgrade nonetheless. The Mariners don’t have any more time to plan for upside.
The other change the Mariners should make with their rotation is the back-to-back with Ariel Miranda and Andrew Albers. The club is heading into a stretch where they will play division rivals — two series each — and the schedule lines up to pitch both lefties versus the same team multiple times. While the pair are different in style, there’s a chance at an incremental advantage to splitting them up in terms of breaking up a club’s lineup from one game to the next.
Both would start back-to-back games versus Houston twice and Texas twice, Houston once and the Angels at least once. While the hope remains that both James Paxton and Felix Hernandez return, no one knows when, exactly, and the team should plan to be without them until they know for fact one or both are returning.
Of course, it’d be ideal if Jerry Dipoto can find a starter on waivers, but each day that passes without a deal decreases the chances of anything happening at all.
Jason A. Churchill
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