Hisashi Iwakuma leaves Mariners and travels to Japan for “personal reasons”

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Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has left the team and traveled back to Japan for undisclosed “personal reasons.”

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Iwakuma is expected to rejoin the team in time to make his next scheduled start, which is Monday against the Blue Jays, and might even be back in the United States as soon as Saturday.

Iwakuma was an afterthought for the Mariners’ pitching staff early on this season, often going long stretches without being used, but he eventually got an opportunity for a regular role and has thrown 51 innings with a 4.56 ERA split between the rotation and bullpen.

Lucas Giolito earns second shutout of season

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The Twins have arguably baseball’s scariest offense. Their average of 5.87 runs per game is second only to the Yankees (5.90) while leading the league in slugging percentage (.501), OPS (.840), and home runs (244). White Sox starter Lucas Giolito made their offense look impotent on Wednesday, blanking them over nine innings for his second shutout of the season. The White Sox won 4-0.

Giolito allowed just three hits and walked none while fanning 12 batters over his nine innings of work. He’s now 14-6 with a 3.20 ERA and a 194/51 K/BB ratio in 151 2/3 innings on the season. Giolito is very much in the AL Cy Young Award picture. The Astros’ Justin Verlander leads the league in ERA at 2.81. A strong finish to the season for Giolito could certainly see his ERA dip below 3.00.

As mentioned, Wednesday’s shutout was Giolito’s second of the season. He and the Indians’ Shane Bieber are the only pitchers with multiple shutouts this season. They are two of only 21 pitchers with a shutout.