Tacoma Rainiers

Pitcher Casey Lawrence works on himself in Tacoma in hopes of another call up

tholmes@thenewstribune.com

In seven games with the Rainiers this season, Casey Lawrence is 2-0, logging in 30 innings with 31 strikeouts, while surrendering 26 hits and 12 runs with a ERA of 3.52.
In seven games with the Rainiers this season, Casey Lawrence is 2-0, logging in 30 innings with 31 strikeouts, while surrendering 26 hits and 12 runs with a ERA of 3.52. The Associated Press

The past four months have had pitcher Casey Lawrence back in forth between the major and minor leagues — but he is finally starting to get into his groove with the Rainiers.

His recent success could have another call up on the horizon.

In seven games with the Rainiers this season, Lawrence is 2-0, logging in 30 innings with 31 strikeouts, while surrendering 26 hits and 12 runs with a ERA of 3.52.

“I’m at my best when I’m going after hitters,” Lawrence said. “I’m going to give up my fair share of hits, but it’s just about keeping the ball in the ballpark and letting our defense play.”

Before landing in Tacoma, Lawrence’s career consisted of trips through multiple leagues. He made his major league debut on April 8, 2017, with the Toronto Blue Jays. In the new role of a relief pitcher, he had to adjust the way he played. After appearing in four games for the Blue Jays, he was released.

The Mariners claimed Lawrence off waivers on May 11. His role proved to be the same up in Seattle as it was in Toronto. On June 1 he set a Mariners record for strikeouts in a relief appearance when he struck out 9 batters over five innings against the Colorado Rockies.

Lawrence played in six games with the Mariners before being sent back to the Rainiers, but said the major league experience he gained this year has helped him focus on what is important.

“Trusting myself,” Lawrence said. “I think that’s what the hardest thing is to do with younger players is you try to worry about everybody else’s weaknesses instead of concentrating on your strengths.

“Being up there (Seattle) has allowed me to talk to some guys, some coaches and learn more about myself and execute it down here.”

And he has done just that.

Monday Lawrence continued to be dominant, scattering eight hits and tallying seven strikeouts in a 9-0, complete-game win over the Isotopes.

That’s not the only good performance from Lawrence that had people cheering in Tacoma.

On June 18, the same week he was optioned back to the Rainiers, Lawrence had a no-hitter through six innings before being pulled. The Rainiers would go on to lose that game.

If Lawrence keeps performing like this, he could be on a major league mound again.

Rainiers manager Pat Listach said that Lawrence’s improved outings could stem from getting that taste of the majors.

“He’s been a really good starter for a number of years,” Listach said. “When you do go to the big leagues and you get the confidence that you are a big leaguer, you’re just in Triple-A — it means something. You are hungry to get back so you have a little more incentive because you already been there and got a taste of it.

“This guy’s hungry to get back.”

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