Two of the things that stand out the most, from what I learned about pitching from Jaime Moyer’s biography, was what to look for when judging a pitcher’s current mental state and what they may or may not be possible of doing going forward. Today, a mild May evening in the Emerald City, James Paxton took a 4-0 lead into the top of the 2nd and proceeded to walk the bases loaded. I turned on the game to see the end of that based load walk.
There was a mound visit during the at-bat, which allowed the TV crew amble time to zoom in on Paxton’s face and what he was doing while Mike Zunino and pitching coach Rick Waits were walking to him, what happened as they talked and what he did when he was left alone on the mound. Moyer speaks on how most of the negative reactions from a pitcher usually demonstrated how he has lost control of his emotional and mental state.
During all of those moments, Paxton displayed nothing negative. His face was blank, his lips a straight line that blended into his beard. He didn’t spend time sulking around the mound or lollygagging back to the rubber. He didn’t appear to show any disagreement with his catcher. He stepped back on and went back to battle, working Clint Barmes into a full count before finally inducing an infield popup to end the inning. His demeanor the same the entire time.
Today, was a fantastic day for the Mariners and a lot of great offensive moments were seen. But all of those pale in comparison to how Paxton handled himself on the mound tonight while he fought with his control. He showed the ruthless attitude of an ace, of a monstrous beast on the mound who owns all the runs and has no intention of giving them up to anyone. He had the Felix face, that scary dead face that says “its business time and business is me kicking your ass.”
To think of the kind of streak Paxton could go on if he can get a firm grip on his control…this team has a very bright future in the coming weeks.
|San Diego Padres
James Paxton – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA
Ian Kennedy – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 9.64 ERA
SSU Player of the Game:
Zunino is really starting to shine, even if his TV stat line isn’t. I am beginning to see why SSU’s Matt Paige spoke so highly of him when he watched him playing for Single-A Everett a now long while ago. Not only does Zunino club two homers, he helps guide a shaky starting pitcher through constant danger remarkably unscathed. This may be the year he fully establishes his hold as one of the franchise’s cornerstones.