Why did Mariners alter starting rotation?
They aren't sure who is going to start Sunday's series finale against the Chicago White Sox, and manager Lloyd McClendon didn't juggle his starting pitchers to line up his top three starters to face Toronto.
“I've told you guys,” McClendon said Tuesday in his pregame news briefing, “that every chance I get to give them an extra day, I'm going to do it. I think we've done OK with it.
“Last time I checked, we had the best pitching in the American League. Why break something that's not broken?”
Except the Mariners aren't giving any of their starters extra rest until they create an opening Sunday by pushing Felix Hernandez, their ace, back one day.
That enables Hernandez to start Monday against the Blue Jays, who lead the race for the American League's final wild-card spot. The Mariners started play Tuesday trailing Toronto by two games.
That plan also pushes Chris Young back one day to Tuesday. But Hisashi Iwakuma is slotted to start Wednesday, on normal rest, for the final game in the Toronto series.
“Everybody can't get an extra day,” McClendon explained.
Regarding Sunday, all signs point to the Mariners recalling right-hander Erasmo Ramirez from Triple-A Tacoma. Ramirez started last Saturday for the Rainiers but isn't scheduled to start Thursday in his regular turn.
“Erasmo is throwing fairly well (at Tacoma),” McClendon said. “He threw well when he was here. He gave us an opportunity to win games. I would say he's definitely in the mix.
“So is (Taijuan) Walker. Bullpen options. I'm just not sure.”
Walker started Monday for Tacoma at Albuquerque and took a beating in a 12-5 loss by giving up eight runs while throwing 68 pitches in 21/3 innings.
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