Pray for Jayson Werth to continue to slump, Washington drinkers

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If you need something stronger, go for the beer. Preferably at Duffy’s Irish Pub in Washington, D.C. this Sunday, and preferably after Jayson Werth goes 0 for his next 16 or so:

Duffy’s Irish Pub has found a way to make that first-half bust pay off now. During the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, you can order PBR tallboys, Buds and High Lifes for whatever Werth’s batting average is at the time. For example, if the promotion started right now, at the time of publication, Werth’s .211 batting average would mean $2.11 brewskies.

Of course you may ask whether or not PBRs, Buds or High Lifes are worth $2.11 or even $1.96, but why take the fun out of a fun promotion?

In other news, this Duffy’s place is apparently across the street from the 9:30 Club, up on Vermont Avenue. Many moons ago when I was a young man I went to the 9:30 Club fairly often.  Maybe I was just not paying attention, but the only thing I remember being around that place — which had just moved up to its current location — was urban decay and a lot of scared white kids racing for the U Street Cardozo Metro station after shows.  I think Manute Bol owned a club nearby, but it never occurred to anyone to go to it after, say, The Jesus Lizard show.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.