"TBA" once again has returned to the Mariners' pitching probables. The updated plans for the team's upcoming homestand are as follows:
• Tuesday, Aug. 5 (ATL): Felix Hernandez
• Wednesday, Aug. 6 (ATL): Chris Young
• Thursday, Aug. 7 (CWS): Roenis Elias
• Friday, Aug. 8 (CWS): Hisashi Iwakuma
• Saturday, Aug. 9 (CWS): James Paxton
• Sunday, Aug. 10 (CWS): TBA
• Monday, Aug. 11: (TOR): Felix Hernandez
• Tuesday, Aug. 12 (TOR): Chris Young
• Wednesday, Aug. 13 (TOR): Hisashi Iwakuma
We have seen manager Lloyd McClendon push the pitching back a day a few times now. The first time, he said it was in part to line up his best against Oakland's best. He also said that he saw an opportunity to give his rotation an extra day of rest and that he would take that opportunity whenever he could.
The numbers show that Felix and Iwakuma benefit from the extra day. In 13 starts on regular rest, Felix has put up a 2.29 ERA and his opponents have hit .218 against him compared to a 1.71 ERA and .171 batting average against in eight starts on an extra day's rest. Iwakuma's results aren't quite as dramatic with a 2.95 ERA in five starts on regular rest vs. 2.62 with an extra day and batters hitting .245/.233 against him.
What the Mariners in a sense are doing – but won't admit – is going with a six-man rotation from time to time. Baltimore has also been doing this of late. The benefits go beyond lining up against opponents and ERAs.
It takes a few innings off Felix's totals and that is not easy to do. Iwakuma can benefit as well as he's coming off his highest innings total by far in his career last year and also starting the year hurt. Young is at 129 innings with his highest innings total since 2007 being 152. They have to be careful with Roenis Elias. These pitchers need protecting both for the short and long terms, and this is one way to do it.
As for that TBA, Taijaun Walker – who pitches Monday night – could make that start with an extra day of rest. Erasmo Ramirez is a possibility as well but more of an adjustment would have to be made to line him up as he made his last start Saturday.