With a much-needed day off on Thursday, the Mariners have decided to re-slot their starting rotation for the upcoming series vs. the Mets at Citi Field.
Left-hander Robbie Ray has moved up a spot, while right-hander Chris Flexen has been pushed back a day. This means Ray will remain on normal rest and pitch in the series finale in New York.
Meanwhile the Mets waited to officially announce their starting pitching probables for the series until Thursday morning. New York wrapped up its current road trip on Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C., with former Mariner Taijuan Walker starting.
The Mets had a doubleheader on Sunday, May 8, with right-handers Chris Bassitt and Max Scherzer pitching. So either pitcher could start Friday night. There was some expectation that Bassitt would start on Friday, giving Scherzer an extra day of rest. Instead, Mets manager Buck Showalter decided to keep the rotation slotted with Scherzer ahead of Bassitt. He announced their rotation plans before Thursday’s game.
It sets up these starting pitching matchups:
• Friday: Marco Gonzales, LHP vs. Max Scherzer, RHP
• Saturday: George Kirby, RHP vs. Chris Bassitt, RHP
• Sunday: Robbie Ray, LHP vs. Carlos Carrasco, RHP
For Kirby, it will be a trip home. Though he grew up a Yankees fan in Rye, New York, he expects a large contingent of family and friends from the Westchester County area to make the trip to Flushing.
Flexen, who was drafted and developed by the Mets, won’t get to face his old team. Instead, he’ll face an old friend on Monday at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The Blue Jays are expected to start former Mariners lefty Yusei Kikuchi in the opener of the three-game series. Right-hander Logan Gilbert would pitch Tuesday with the Blue Jays sending ace Jose Berrios to the mound.
The Mariners made a small trade before Wednesday’s game, sending infielder Donovan Walton to the Giants in exchange for right-handed pitcher Prelander Berroa, a young prospect pitching in the High-A Northwest League.
Walton, 27, who was on the Mariners 40-man roster, was playing for Class AAA Tacoma after an uneventful call-up early in the season. He appeared just once as a pinch runner over 14 games. He had a .294/.368/.510 slash line with four doubles, two triples, a homer and five RBI in 12 games with the Rainiers.
Berroa, 22, has made four starts with High-A Eugene, posting a 0.68 ERA (one earned run in 13 1/3 innings, with 16 strikeouts and six walks).
While he has been a starter for his entire career, his command issues in the past with his high 90s fastball will likely push him to a relief role. Berroa will pitch in 3-4 inning stretches for High-A Everett for the time being.
• Tom Murphy (dislocated left shoulder) will travel on the road trip. There is a chance that he returns from the 10-day injured list after he reaches the minimum days out. Murphy has dislocated the shoulder multiple times in the past and he’s moving closer to feeling comfortable enough to swing a bat.
• Reliever Sergio Romo (shoulder inflammation) will also travel on the road trip and will likely be activated at some point, perhaps for the Toronto series. He pitched one inning on a rehab stint on Tuesday in Tacoma.
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