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Mariners’ James Paxton explains what makes Edwin Díaz so great

Mariners lefty James Paxton will get the start for Seattle Tuesday night. (AP)

Mariners closer Edwin Díaz has a league-high 46 saves on the season, which puts him just four shy of winning a pretty entertaining bet with manager Scott Servais, and – more importantly – on pace to challenge Francisco Rodríguez’s decade-old single-season saves record (62).

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To gain a bit more insight into just what has made Díaz so successful on the mound, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore talked to someone who would have some up-close-and-personal knowledge: Mariners left-handed pitcher James Paxton.

“He’s just got electric stuff,” Paxton told the trio Monday. “It’s 97-98, but it jumps. There’s different kinds of 97-98. There’s the ones that the hitters call a light fastball, whether it’s straight or (because it) doesn’t hold its velocity well. Edwin’s got one of those balls that’s a heavy 98; it holds its velocity well and it’s got movement and life at the end of it, and it just makes them extremely hard to hit. And he’s got that slider that plays right off of his fastball. So they’re out there guessing which one it’s going to be. And they’re both extremely tough pitches to hit, obviously. He’s been great attacking the strike zone, throwing strikes, getting ahead of guys. I think that’s really the key for him is getting into the strike zone, putting these guys into swing mode, and challenging people.”

The 25-year-old Díaz got a save in every game of Seattle’s four-game sweep of the Houston Astros last weekend, adding life to the Mariners’ postseason push. Now, Seattle seeks a crucial series win over the Oakland Athletics after dropping the first contest (a 6-7 loss) Monday night.

Paxton (10-5, 3.63) will get the start Tuesday, and he told Danny, Dave and Moore he’ll be entering the game with a much more focused mindset.

“(We’re) taking it one game at a time,” Paxton said, when asked about the conversations that came out of the M’s slump just before the sweep in Houston. “We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves here. We all know that our goal is to make the postseason. But we can’t play every game thinking about the postseason. We have to take it one game at a time, one inning at a time, one pitch at a time, and do the things that are necessary within the games to win.”

Paxton talked about Seattle’s series against the Astros and Athletics, the return of Robinson Canó, and his love of cribbage (yes, cribbage). Listen to the entire interview in the clip embedded above, or on Danny, Dave and Moore’s podcast page here.

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