A shortened post today because the #Mariners are playing an afternoon game. Like most home Sundays, I'm not at the stadium. Follow our Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) on twitter for the updates.
It should be interesting to see whether the Mariners announce a rotation switch after Brandon Maurer's disappointing effort Saturday in a 9-4 loss to the Astros. Ideally, the club would prefer that James Paxton get at least one more rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma in his recovery from a strained back muscle.
But...Maurer now sports a 6.99 ERA through six starts, and manager Lloyd McClendon's post-game assessment wasn't kind after a fifth-inning implosion: "That’s happened to him a few times — where he’s on a run and one thing or another goes wrong. He just doesn’t seem to get it back together."
The decision doesn't rest solely with McClendon, but he's also on record as saying he wants Paxton back in the rotation as soon as he proves he's healthy and has sufficient endurance to go 90-plus pitches. Paxton should be there after throwing 62 pitches Saturday in three innings and then going to the bullpen for 13 more.
It doesn't help Maurer's cause that he seems mystified as to his problems. He gave up two early runs but then turned dominant in retiring 12 of the next 13 batters before melting down in the fifth.
When asked what happened, he said: "I lost conviction there. I wasn’t throwing with confidence in my pitches."
Follow-up question: Why the lost confidence after retiring 12 of 13?
"I don’t know," he said. "It just kind of went away, I guess."
Odds and ends
Our Sunday notebook has updates on Taijuan Walker's rehab schedule. (He appears ticketed for a Wednesday start for Tacoma.) There's much more, including how the Mariners are taking a hard look at a Canadian prep outfielder as they prepare for the upcoming draft.
Around the farms
***Triple-A Tacoma settled for a split a doubleheader against El Paso (Padres) after rallying to win the opener (which Paxton started.)
***Double-A Jackson couldn't overcome a rough first inning by Trevor Miller in a 7-6 loss at Jacksonville (Marlins). From the Jackson Sun.
***Hi-A High Desert got six strong innings from Min-Sih Chen and homers from Gabriel Guerrero, D.J. Peterson, Jordy Lara and Tyler Marlette in an 8-1 victory at Bakersfield (Reds). From the Victorville Daily Press.
***Lo-A Clinton has won all five of Jose Flores' starts, but he finally got his first victory in a 3-2 victory at Kane County (Cubs). From the LumberKings website.