In James Paxton’s return from the disabled list on Wednesday night, he picked up right where he left off before his left forearm strain, holding the Mariners’ opponent scoreless for the fifth time in seven starts this season.
Manager Scott Servais has his own way of describing the outing by the lanky lefty from Ladner, British Columbia.
“The Big Maple showed up,” Servais said Thursday morning on “Brock and Salk.”
Paxton was better than advertised in Seattle’s 5-0 win over the National League West-leading Colorado Rockies, striking out six and walking none in 5 1/3 scoreless innings of three-hit ball. Servais said that Paxton, who needed just 74 pitches to register 16 outs, was much more effective than he was anticipating.
“It was better than I expected it being, quite frankly,” Servais said. “I was hoping to get five innings out of him and hopefully he didn’t get too high on the pitch count, but he was rolling, he was aggressive, he felt good about it and our team felt good about it.”
And that, to Servais, is the most important part about Paxton being back in action. Not only is it nice to have a 1.26 ERA and 0.93 WHIP at the top of the rotation, there’s also a positive impact his presence has on the rest of the Mariners squad.
“When he steps on the mound last night and starts throwing what he was throwing in there, it was a good feeling for everybody in our dugout,” Servais said. “… When your horse steps out there and he produces, everybody kinda relaxes and puffs their chest out a little bit and says, ‘Yeah, we’re pretty good.'”
• Felix Hernandez (shoulder bursitis) will throw a simulated game Friday, which is expected to be the last step before he heads out on a rehab assignment in the minors.
• You can find the Mariners’ lineup for their series finale against the Rockies at 12:40 on 710 ESPN Seattle in this post.