ARLINGTON, Texas – The Mariners are still waiting to determine if left-hander Ariel Miranda will make his next turn in the rotation or if he will be replaced.
Following Miranda’s shortest start of the season in Monday night’s 5-3 loss – 1 2/3 innings pitched, four runs allowed on six hits with three walks – manager Scott Servais admitted after the game that a change might need to be made.
James Paxton is scheduled to start on Friday and Erasmo Ramirez on Saturday in Houston. Miranda’s normal turn in the rotation would be on Sunday. Servais mentioned that Andrew Moore, who pitched six innings in relief on Monday night, could be an option to make the start. Moore has looked solid in his last two outings, allowing four runs on three hits in 12 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts.
Asked about it on Tuesday, Servais said he was still evaluating the situation.
“We haven’t finalized anything,” he said. “I wanted to give it a couple of days and see where we are at and then go from there. Nothing has been set up or finalized. Our rotation, as you know, has been hit and miss. But with Felix (Hernandez) and Paxton comeback it allows us to move some guys around.”
Servais believes that Miranda is suffering from the fatigue of pitching a full season at the big league level. He’s the only Mariners starter from the opening day rotation to take the ball for his all of his scheduled starts. He’s made 29 starts this season, pitching a total of 158 innings and posting an 8-7 record with a 4.90 ERA.
“He’s worn out right now,” Servais said. “You saw it last night. One thing we’ve always seen with Miranda is a very big competitive fire. Last night, he looked like a guy that didn’t have good stuff and didn’t have a lot left in the tank to drive the competitive fire. That’s why we pulled him as early as we did. It was like, ‘This isn’t going to get a whole lot better, so let’s move on and let’s regroup.’ ”
In his first 17 starts this season, Miranda posted a 7-4 record with a 3.82 ERA. In 99 innings pitched, he struck out 74 batters and walked 35 with 18 homers allowed with hitters batting .286 with a .687 OPS against him. Since July 1, Miranda has made 12 starts and is 1-3 with a 6.71 ERA. In 59 innings pitched, he’s struck out 61 and walked 27 but allowed 17 homers.
“Being around a lot of players and a lot of pitchers over the years, you can kind of see it,” Servais said. “He is in uncharted territory. He’s pitched an entire season (at the big league level). For the most part, he’s done a really good job for us. But experience kind of tells you the tank is a little empty.”
Miranda pitched a total of 158 1/3 innings last season, including 155 2/3 as a starter. But 100 2/3 of those innings came for Class AAA Norfolk. But innings accrued at the minor league level aren’t considered comparable.
“Totally different with the stress level,” Servais said. “The stress level of taking the ball every time it’s your turn and the team counting on you, especially with where we were at with our rotation throughout the majority of the year. It even puts more stress on a guy like that.”