The Marlins worked seven walks against the Braves’ Tommy Hanson on Wednesday and followed those up with many of their seven steals, yet they still ended up losing 7-1.
With two apiece from Jose Reyes and Donovan Solano (Hanley Ramirez’s replacement at third base), the Marlins became the first team this year to swipe seven bases in a game. They were 7-for-8 in steal attempts, all while Hanson was in the game. And catcher Brian McCann had nothing to do with the lone caught stealing, as Reyes was caught taking off from second base by Hanson in the third.
It was the first time the Marlins had swiped seven bases in a game since May 27, 2002. Three of the four teams to do it since 2010 have actually gone on to lose the game.
Hanson walked seven batters in his five innings, making him the first pitcher to walk seven in a win since the Angels’ Ervin Santana did it last Sept. 1. He also struck out seven. He gave up three hits, all of them doubles, but only Justin Ruggiano’s in the third inning did any damage.
The Marlins went on to work just one additional walk in four innings against the bullpen. In all, they struck out 14 times against Hanson, Kris Medlen and Jonny Venters.
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.