Wild Card Standings:
This is actually everyone but Houston:
|LA Angels||22||18||.550||–||9-10||13-8||202||169||+33||Won 3||7-3|
|NY Yankees||21||19||.525||–||9-10||12-9||174||187||-13||Won 2||5-5|
|Kansas City||20||20||.500||1||10-8||10-12||157||153||+4||Lost 1||6-4|
|Chicago Sox||20||22||.476||2||11-10||9-12||205||214||-9||Won 1||5-5|
|Tampa Bay||18||24||.429||4||8-12||10-12||174||189||-15||Lost 1||3-7|
And everyone but LAAA has been pretty middle-of-the-pack, including Seattle. Nine teams within 2.5 games. No one better than 21-19, no one worse than 19-22, and the Mariners in the middle of the middle.
The Mariners are linked to former Padre All-Star reliever Heath Bell, who was released by the Rays with a 7.27 ERA, but 4.54 FIP and 4.69 xFIP.
And just last year he put up a 4.11 ERA and 3.08 xFIP, the latter resulting from what seemed to be a remarkably unlucky 12.8% home-run-per-fly-ball rate — more than double his career average.
In other words, he’s pitched decently, and in the not-so-recent past.
The Bell possibility comes on the heels of another former MLB closer being added to the organization — in case you missed it: former Royals closer Mike MacDougal.
MacDougal last had an OK season in 2011 for the Dodgers. He joins AAA Tacoma, which is where Bell would probably start out as well.
This is only indirectly related to the Mariners, but fangraphs.com has an interesting story about a guy who came back from three years of shoulder injuries throwing 99-101!
It relates, since Danny Hultzen has labrum and related shoulder issues, and we’re big Hultzen fans.
Not that he’ll show up in 2015 throwing 100 mph, but we’d love to see him just show up and be his old self — so this gives us some hope.
Speaking of U.Va. guys … Chris Taylor is on the disabled list after jamming his fingers on a steal attempt. Not considered serious, but some had considered him a possibility to come up as an alternative to struggling Brad Miller. If that happens, it won’t be right away, obviously.
[But Nick Franklin is on the 40-man roster, and Taylor isn’t, so it wasn’t that likely anyway.]
And speaking of the once (and future) Big Three: the two with hopes of pitching again in 2014 both threw successful bullpen sessions on Wednesday.
Taijuan Walker and James Paxton are both still on course for June returns, but Paxton is farther along. It was his 3rd bullpen session and Walker’s 2nd. Paxton is expected to throw a simulated game next, and then go out on a rehab assignment.
- The Rainiers lost in 11 innings, but …
- Broadcaster Mike Curto reports on a very strange play that involved Blash, and put the Rainiers in a hole.
- Aforementioned MacDougal went 2.0 IP scoreless (after going 0.1 IP, 4 ER in his first Tacoma outing).
- AA Jackson got 5 in the 2nd and coasted home. Ketel Marte is always doing something — Thursday it was a double, a triple and his 17th error. Fast-rising Tyler Olson got the win, but went 5.2 IP with 0 K.
- High-A High Desert jumped to an early lead when the aforementioned Henry led off the game with his aforementioned 9th homer, but it couldn’t hold on. Gabriel Guerrero had three singles and a walk, but he has only two extra-base hits in May so far.