The Mariners rolled into a wild card spot on Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean they’re postseason-ready. Case in point: left-handed ace James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday after sustaining a strained left pectoral muscle during Thursday’s start against the Angels. With seven weeks remaining in the regular season, a two-way tie for the second wild card and at least four more American League teams on the verge of playoff contention, this isn’t the moment you want to see your rotation begin to weaken.
MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports that Paxton is expected to be sidelined for up to three weeks, by which point the makeup of the AL wild card standings could look very different. The southpaw is serving his second stint on the 10-day DL after sustaining a forearm strain earlier in the season, and worked up to an impressive 2.78 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 following a relatively quick recovery period. No long-term replacement for Paxton has been announced, but right-hander Andrew Moore was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma in a corresponding move and will pitch out of the bullpen until the Mariners need a spot starter on Tuesday.
Add Paxton’s pectoral strain to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis, Hisashi Iwakuma‘s shoulder inflammation and Drew Smyly‘s Tommy John surgery, and it’s difficult to picture a playoff scenario where the Mariners take the rest of the American League by storm — or at all. They’ve utilized 34 different pitchers this season, the most in Major League Baseball, and will have to get creative in order to remain competitive this fall. Adding another starting pitcher via trade isn’t necessarily out of the question, but finding an affordable starter of Paxton’s caliber will be next-to-impossible.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.
Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.
Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.
After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”
Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”
As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.