Belated Weekend Rewind

FeaturedBelated Weekend Rewind

By Andy / 35th & Jackson

Even though the Seahawks were idle on a bye week and Oregon State football might as well have been, there were still plenty of items of note to go around.


Oregon State Football:

  • In a similar manner to their performance against Arizona earlier in the season, the Beavers took a golden opportunity in the friendly confines of Reser Stadium and promptly flushed it away.
  • A 49-7 loss to a Cal team that got trounced by a previously winless UCLA team a week ago was inexplicable.
  • It seems as though every time the Beavers have been set up for a mini breakthrough, they have failed fantastically.
  • The defense actually played decent early on. But of course, they happened to do so on a day the offense had absolutely nothing to contribute.
  • Artavis Pierce started in place of freshman phenom, Jermar Jefferson as he nursed a previously unmentioned hamstring injury. Jefferson did bust one 30 yard run, but unfortunately wasn’t able to go after that. People want to blame the poor offensive showing on Jefferson being out, but it was more than that. Pierce looked ok, but didn’t have a ton of room.
  • The other disaster was the inability to throw the ball down field. Whether it was the QB holding it too long, or the line not protecting, or a mixture of both.
  • Cal lived in the OSU backfield.
  • Conor Blount left the game with an apparent head injury after being the victim of targeting and remains in concussion protocol.
  • Jack Colleto plays hard, but as I’ve mentioned before, is a clear third option behind Luton and Blount.
  • Speaking of, is Jake Luton ever coming back? Things seem less optimistic  with each passing week. His high ankle sprain suffered in mid September is still bothering him. I’m thinking there might be more to this injury.
  • This now marks the FOURTH consecutive season that Oregon State has had to constantly rotate quarterbacks due to injuries. It’s unbelievable how many QBs see the field each year. It really paints a picture of just how rough this program has had it.
  • If Colleto has to start this week he will be OSU’s 7th or 8th starting QB in the last  four seasons. Others to start include Seth Collins, Marcus McMaryion, Nick Mitchell, Darell Garretson, Jake Luton, and Conor Blount. Let me know if I’m missing others.
  • Bottom line, Saturday was a bummer and to perform like that coming off of a bye does not boost program morale. I still believe they can get this thing turned around, but I wouldn’t dare put a timeline on it at this point.


  • As I mentioned, the Seahawks were off this week but the chaos in the NFC is great for this team.
  • Sunday’s game in Detroit is massive. A win would really put the team in position for a nice run. The lions also come in at 3-3, winning three out of four games and looking like a contender. A loss would certainly hurt, especially on a schedule that leaves little room for error.
  • KJ Wright and Ed Dickson have returned to practice which could provide a major boost for this team on both sides of the ball.
  • It will be interesting to see if the running game picks up where it left off before the break.
  • Sunday will provide Seahawks fans a chance to think about how great it would be to have Golden Tate on this current team.
  • Speaking of receivers, will Doug Baldwin build on his strong outing in London after another two weeks of letting his ailments heal?
  • Speaking of receivers again, will Tyler Lockett continue to be a consistent playmaker? Let’s hope so.
  • Frank Clark and his agent say they are in no hurry for a deal. He has really performed well so far in what is a contract year and I can’t say with certainty that he’ll be here next year. Right now, Clark is the only threat as a pass rusher on this team. The Seahawks need to find some other guys to help in that area.
  • I’m as excited and nervous for this game as I have been in quite sometime. It just feels like a potential turning point. But on the road in Detroit has me worried about a last minute heart breaking defeat. It just feels like a scary game that comes down to a crucial play in the final moments.


  • They’re baaaaack!
  • I was pretty stoked about the 2-0 start especially after beating the Lebron led Lakers  who nobody outside of Portland seemed to realize… LOST!
  • Nik Stauskus has been a pleasant surprise so far. Sauce Castillo was trending on Twitter.
  • My excitement soured a little bit as the Blazers botched what should have been a 3-0 start. They couldn’t shake the Wizards at home and Dame and CJ were ice cold.
  • It worries me that both guards seem to be off at the same time so frequently. It made me shutter thinking of last year’s playoff series with New Orleans.
  • I really think this team can flirt with 50 wins if they play to their capabilities. A lot of people laugh at that, but really they should be able to come close to that.
  • But they can’t win 50 losing to Washington at home. That sucked.
  • I enjoyed the halloween costumes everyone wore. Especially Dame as Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Oregon State Basketball:

  • As we inch ever closer to the 2018-2019 season I’m making a conscious decision to demand more out of Beaver Basketball this year.
  • A team that returns Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr. in year four,  and Ethan Thompson and Alfred Hollins in year two must win 20 games. Anything less is a disappointment. Some may be shocked by that statement, but it’s the truth. No more excuses.
  • BYU transfer Payton Dastrup has been denied immediate eligibility this season. That sucks as he would’ve been a nice veteran presence. But still… No excuses!
  • This is as much talent on the floor as there ever has been and I don’t care if the bench isn’t very deep. Four extremely good basketball players need to be able to carry a team. And trust me, it isn’t the players who should feel the pressure of these expectations…
  • Wayne Tinkle needs to prove that he can do it with this group right now. The tournament appearance three years ago was great, but let’s be honest… GPII carried that team far beyond what anyone thought and covered up for virtually every sin and shortcoming. His improv was incredible and helped make up for the fact that the team was in a state of constant confusion on offense.
  • They are still confused on offense and since Payton’s departure have tremendously underachieved.
  • I need to see clean, smart basketball. The talent is there, this coaching staff needs to show that they can get the most out of it. So far we haven’t seen that.
  • I know the PAC 12 is competitive, but this team should be fighting in the top echelon with the likes of Oregon, Washington, the Arizona schools, etc.. Not a team content finishing 8th or 9th in the conference.
  • Speaking of Washington, they have a second year coach with basically none of his recruits and are already in the top 25! I’m done with any excuses for OSU hoops.
  • Bottom Line: 20 wins is non negotiable.

Oregon State Baseball:

  • Still awesome! They win in fall, winter, spring and summer. Doesn’t matter, Wins on top of wins.


  • They never play in the fall.


Washington State:

  • Four straight, go Cougs!


Weekend Rewind

FeaturedWeekend Rewind

By Andy / 35th & Jackson

Beavs: It was a spirited effort for most of the game by our beloved Beavs. Wazzu jumped out to a 14-0 lead before I could say Gardner Minshew II. Here’s the thing, going into the game I thought this would be one of those weird games where the Beavers play a team close when everyone expects a blowout. I think I had this being an 11 (spread was 17) point win for the Cougs. After the blocked punt, I thought the Beavs would lose by 60.

What really happened was sort of what has happened all season thus far. I went into the game with higher expectations than most, because I feel I sensed what could be a trap game and that some weird stuff would happen. With a second half lead, I allowed myself to believe. They couldn’t stop our offense, but once again, our defense couldn’t tackle anyone. The Beavers did everything they possibly could. Trick plays galore, five fourth down conversions, and still it didn’t matter. It was an exciting game, don’t get me wrong… but they still lost by 19. It’s just a microcosm of the season. The Beavers come out and throw the biggest possible haymaker they can and they still get trounced in the end. All of that for a 19 point loss.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in where the program can get to and I believe Niner will take us there, but it’s hard to be encouraged by what we’ve seen so far. We need a defense. That’s on players, coaches and everyone involved with the program. I know we need more athletes on that side of the ball, but it’s more than that. You shouldn’t be giving up 50+ a game so long as you have 11 warm bodies and decent coaching. It’s unacceptable and it needs to be fixed. All I ask is for positive strides. If we can be a team that surrenders only 40 points a game in the final six games, I will be pleased.

This is longer than I anticipated, but my brain has been short circuiting over this stuff for the past few days. I leave you with this… Oregon State really is just a mediocre defense away from being a very difficult PAC 12 opponent. The offense has exceeded my expectations and then some. Sure there are mistakes and things to clean up, but the scheme is everything a fan could ask for. On that note, Jermar Jefferson makes a one win team must watch TV every week. So pumped we have 22 in the backfield.

Seahawks: I once again set myself up for failure with this one. Nobody thought the Seahawks had a snowball’s chance in the bad place of beating the Rams on Sunday. Nobody except me. I really thought they would find a way to come out on top and by golly they almost did. There was a lot to like as they ran all over the Rams vaunted D line and played very physical football all around. It was back and forth the entire afternoon, but unfortunately the Rams just made a few more plays. The defense got gashed by the lab produced Ram’s offense all day. They had their chances on some key third downs and just couldn’t get it done. And finally it all came to an end as the Rams converted a short 4th and 1 sneak to put the game on ice. Quick side note: A QB sneak from a yard out should always be automatic. I don’t know why we don’t see it more. It is almost impossible to stop. Once the Rams lined up after Pete Carroll’s much debated timeout (which I actually didn’t mind that much. I can see his logic and I believe the Rams would’ve rushed out and gone for it anyway with the offense huddled tightly on the sideline) I knew it was over. Properly executed sneaks are unstoppable.

33-31 left a sting, but I had to come away with a positive outlook. Other than the Rams running away with the top seed, the NFC is wide open. 2-3 isn’t ideal, but this team has shown they have found their identity again and I think they can make some hay in the next several weeks to be back in the thick of the playoff race. Other than the Rams on the road, I don’t see another game on the schedule that I immediately would consider a loss. I’m not saying they are going to finish 12-4 necessarily, but I wouldn’t count out 10-6 or even 11-5 just yet. Let’s see what this team can do going forward.

Mariners: It’s October, silly… A happy, merciful and well deserved offseason to all of the broken compass diehards. Go Ms!

Weekend Rewind: A quick look back at the sports weekend that was.

FeaturedWeekend Rewind: A quick  look back at the sports weekend that was.

By Andy / 35th & Jackson

It was a mixed bag of a weekend for the 35th crew. We saw the Beavers look foolish against a bad Arizona team, the Seahawks finally show up and the Mariners…ah, who the heck cares?

Here’s what I took away from the weekend:


Yikes. I’ve been more optimistic than most about this team’s ability to at least be competitive this season and with the exception of Ohio State, they have been. Saturday was a big step backwards. People can make excuses and say this thing will take time (I’m not referring to Coach Smith and the staff, just the general population), which is all fine and good, but there’s one problem… ARIZONA ISN’T FINE OR GOOD! In fact, they’ve looked pretty terrible. And after watching this game, I don’t think their success had much to do with them playing significantly better. This isn’t meant to be negative, I’m just being frank. The most concerning thing I saw was that they seemed to be content just letting things wind down in the second half rather than fighting to get back into the game. I hadn’t seen that up to this point and that is something I couldn’t stomach in the Gary Anderson era. I want to see a team that is out for blood and looking for a fight down to the last second, no matter the score.

I still think they can bounce back (especially offensively). However this game certainly left us with more questions than answers, some of which include the following:

-Why can’t this team tackle cleanly?

-What happened to the offensive execution?

-How does a 17 play drive end in a punt? *This hasn’t happened in college football in over 15 years.

-When a team has a kicker that has missed twice already, wouldn’t you at least consider the possibility of a fake the next time he struts out there?

– Is it realistic to expect to see any improvement out of the defense this year?

– Why is Isaiah Hodgins not targeted 8-10 times per game?

– Will we see a conference win this year?

– How will this team respond to its worst outing thus far?

-Will 35th and Jackson ever get suite access at Reser?


What a circus this team is. They struggle enough as it is to be consistent on the field, they certainly don’t need all of the madness off of it. I’ve said this before but Earl Thomas is a strange individual. He doesn’t practice this week but not to worry… Mr. sunshine and rainbows, Pete Carroll took it all in stride. A player could hold Pete at gunpoint, rob him poor, punch him in the face and leave him for dead and I doubt Pete would press charges. He’d probably just say that it presented a unique opportunity to overcome adversity and that the player in question was only guilty of competing his tail off in a unique way.

For the record, I think Pete is awesome, and I think there’s more order behind closed doors than we realize. However, he is the most player friendly coach in the history of sports. This team has more drama than a Kardashian family Christmas and yet Pete always puts a positive spin on it. Take Doug Baldwin’s sideline outburst that was inexplicably directed at co-director of player personnel, Trent Kirchner. This is just the latest outside the lines, one-way scream fest that Pete Carroll classifies as “exchanging competitive thoughts.” That phrase cracks me up every time.

But of course, winning cures all. The Seahawks looked like the team I hoped for them to be in a 24-13 win over the Cowboys. They ran the ball, controlled the line of scrimmage and created timely turnovers. It’s amazing what can happen when they stick with the run.

I had to laugh at the fact that Earl had two impressive interceptions that killed the Cowboys. Every Dallas fan had to be ripping their hair out.

Let’s see if the Hawks can build off of this win and get a streak going against the hapless Arizona Cardinals. Braught and I will be in attendance (probably still licking our wounds from Saturday’s ASU game).


The annoying surge of useless wins is over. The Mariners are back to doing what they’ve done since July… losing… a lot. This team finally got what it deserved as it watched the A’s celebrate a playoff berth at Safeco Field. Why do we root for this team? Maybe a better question, why did we all let ourselves believe that this was the year they’d get back to the playoffs? June was a long time ago. It might as well have been 17 years ago at this point. Another year without postseason baseball in the Northwest. Maybe the Portland Diamond Projects will get there? Yes, I know that isn’t what the team will be named, but I think it’s a funny joke and I like it, so shut up!

Earlier this summer I swore I’d stick by the M’s even if Portland does get a team. Now, I’m not so sure. Ah, who am I kidding? I can’t help it. I can’t quit the Mariners. And at this point I’ve wasted too many years to jump ship now. I have a sickness. Man I hate this team. I want to have a beer with the guy that runs the mariner rants twitter account.  I’d add a link to his profile, but I feel like my computer might get a virus. I wouldn’t recommend anyone under the age of 23.5 read his tweets. His tweets go way too far, but the Mariners almost make them feel like they aren’t vulgar enough.

Hope springs eternal! Go Mariners!

Wild Card Wednesday

FeaturedWild Card Wednesday

By Braught / 35th & Jackson

Every spring I receive the text message that says “hope springs eternal” regarding the Mariners and their season. This year, I really couldn’t see it. I thought this team was destined for mediocrity. If I recall correctly, I predicted 82 wins, mostly because I didn’t want to think about them being .500 or below.

Then the Mariner’s went on a tear and won every close game. They played loose, fast, and fun. Even with all the data about run differential, one run games, and it all being unsustainable, you thought just maybe, maybe they could pull it off.  And with all the past trauma, you knew it couldn’t last, but you finally refused to believe that. SoDo MoJo was occurring. It was a great day to be a Mariner fan.

Well, it all came crashing down. The A’s somehow became good and refused to lose a series. The Mariners bats went cold, the pitchers had the injury bug, and it appeared that nothing could snap them out of it.

With multiple games against two of the worst teams in baseball, the Padres and Orioles, coming up, it was time for the Mariners to put up or shut up. Instead the Mariners dropped the first two games to Padres and played one of the ugliest games I have seen this season against the Orioles last night. They are 1 and 3 in those four games so far, with three more to go. The Mariners also have 11 games vs the sub .500 Rangers and Angels to go this season.

So where does that leave the Mariners chances at the playoff? Baseball Prospectus and fiveeightythree each put it at about a 3% chance, and fangraphs puts it at 5%. It’s not looking good for this year. But somehow, there still is hope. The M’s will need to win at least eight of those 11 games I mentioned, to have a chance in my opinion.

I will return next week with another Wild Care Wednesday and hope that the M’s have improved those odds. Back to the game for me.



Monday Morning Update from PNW Crew

FeaturedMonday Morning Update from PNW Crew

By Con/PNW Sports Fans

The team as been MIA. We apologize. But what is there to really write about? Neil Olshey sucking for the third straight year? Summer MLB baseball; YAWN. Pac-12 media day? Meh.

At PNW we are still on the euphoria of shutting down TD Ameritrade, having a chariot pick us up for our victory parade in downtown Omaha towards an authentic Cuban cigar lounge. Who has it better then us in college baseball? Answer: No one!

In the next few days we will be coming out with a few previews for Seahawks 2018, OSU football fall camp and whatever Brian Braught can drum up.

As always, our info will be detailed, fans perspective, realistic and always free to everyone. We are die-hards who believe in coverage that is accurate and detailed that other die-hards will appreciate the overall picture of each program and team we cover vs the paid stuff you get or the local things that are written by people who don’t even like those teams or some unpaid high school journalist. Looking at you Danny Moran.

That being said, any suggestions or questions are ALWAYS welcomed and wanted to improve our coverage or assess certain positions or questions about players specifically. Reach out to us on twitter or our personal lives if you know… you know…

PNW Sports Fans

Mariners Post Trade Deadline Update

Mariners Post Trade Deadline Update

The trade deadline has now come and gone and this the team the M’s will have as they attempt to end the playoff drought. As of this morning, the M’s are 2.5 games back of the 2nd wild card spot held currently by the Royals. A brutal August schedule in terms of games on the road is under way. Despite only 6 games at home, the M’s do not have the toughest of schedules and it should be reasonable to expect them to go 16-11 in the month. This would be a drastic improvement compared to their 22-26 record on the year on the road thus far and would be the best month of baseball for the club.

Despite Paxton having an unreal month in July and showing why many see him as a #1 starter, the M’s starting pitching will not be striking fear in any of these teams when Ramirez and Gallardo are on the bump. Jerry attempted to combat this by dealing a couple of prospects for David Phelps in an attempt to bolster the bullpen and Diaz appears to have righted the ship with a great month on July (0.951 WHIP and 13.8 SO/9). If Pazos can regain the command he had in April and May and Zych continues to throw heat, we could have a chance to make up for shaky starts from the back-end of the rotation. But no matter what we do, what is going to carry the Mariners to the playoffs is their bats.

The M’s have one of the best 1-2-3-4-5 lineups in the MLB. Cruz, at the age of 36, is having a season similar to his other two in Seattle with an 130 OPS+ and is on track to have more RBIs than any other year. Segura is  setting the table for these guys while matching the year he had last year in AZ, with .322 BA and over 100 hits thus year.  Seager and Cano are there usual selves, hitting for average and power. And the new kid on the block, Gamel, continues to hold his own out there with a .333 OBP. Even the  of the lineup is holding up well for the team.

One of the things I believe the team can change when it comes to their approach, is to be more aggressive on first pitches. After 400+ plate appearances, the Mariners are batting almost .370 on first pitches. This is in line with the over .380 they batted last year on first pitches.

If the Mariners can go 16-11 in the month of August, it will set up for a fun month of September baseball in the AL West with all but 3 of their games against inter division opponents. The Astro’s will be the run away winners of the division but there will be fight for the wild card spot and I expect another AL West team to be right there for it. I hope it is the Mariners and we are watching meaningful baseball in October.

SoDo Mojo.

Photo from The Seattle Times

2017 Mariners (2-6)

2017 Mariners (2-6)

By Braught / PNW Sports Fans

Stop me if you have heard this before, Mariners’ starting pitching does enough for the win but the offense doesn’t come through. Yeah, that seems like every year since Felix was called up. Yet again, that is what has mostly occurred in the first 8 games.

The Mariner’s starting staff had a 2.5 ERA prior to Paxton great performance yesterday. Their WHIP is 1.17. The only concerning thing that has stood out about the starting rotation is the 9 HR’s they have given up over 46 innings pitched. But we all know the most important thing for this starting staff is health. Drew Smyly is on the 60 day DL after his brilliant showing in the WBC. Iwakuma is 36 and Felix is 30 now. Both are going to have to pitch to contact this year. Felix has already flirted with DL with his groin.

Meanwhile, the relievers have been a different story. They have thrown 25 innings and have given up 19 earned runs. Don’t even get me started on the bottom of the 9th 6 run lead they had against LAA. But in their defense, many of them should not even be in the show. Casey Fien? Really?! When Jerry brought him over he was supposed to be insurance if our bullpen all gets injured and that is exactly what happened.

First you have Steve Cishek who is still recovering from his hip labrum surgery. Then you have Tony Zych who is also on the 10 day DL. And then the Mariners have both the young guys who would probably be in the bullpen before Casey Fien. Those guys Robert Whalen and Shae Simmons are also both on the 10 day DL. Bullpen help is on the way and should stabilize the roller coaster they have put us on these first few games.

A bright light in the bullpen has been Dan Altavilla. In the limited innings I have been able to watch, he has some killer stuff. Upper 90’s fastball with a low 90’s slider! In 5 innings pitched he has 8 strike outs. That’s what you want to see coming out of your bullpen.

Now the offense; with RISP, this team has been abysmal. Cruz is batting .170 with 11 SO. Martin is batting .107 with 10 SO. The only guy over .300, is now on the 10 day DL, Segura. This offense is not going to continue. It is too good and too deep to.

Compare this team to last years team and you will find a much more athletic, more disciplined, deeper team. The only real contributor they lost is Walker and they won 86 games last year. I find it hard to believe that this team cannot match last years win total if they do not have crippling injuries. Remember even the cubs had a 1-6 stretch last year, unfortunately for the Mariners, it happened in September, not June. That’s the difference in the microscope put on them.

SoDo MoJo!

With Deadline Looming, M’s First Trade Raises Questions.


Photo Courtesy: Otto Greule Jr. / Fox Sports

By Braught / PNW Sports Fans

And so it has begun. The Mariners first trade (and I expect more) doesn’t tell us a whole a lot about them being buyers or sellers this year. Dipoto said “The attraction here was getting younger and deeper and really starting to fill some positions of critical needs for us moving forward.” Sounds like Dipoto is being realistic here and implying our playoff chances are becoming slimmer by the day, which is true, but damn is 15 years a long time and I sure would like to taste October baseball. We just may have to wait.

Here are my thoughts on this trade, meh. I really like Mike Montgomery. He has transitioned to  the bullpen and spot starting well. Pitching 61 innings and only giving up 16 ERs and a WHIP of 1.086 are great numbers. Even better is that he is team controlled for the next 5 years. That’s what hurts, but the Mariners have quite a few lefty relievers/5th starters in their system. Dan Vogelbach can mash the ball, so I’ve been told. But that’s it. He has no defensive value whatsoever and will be relinquished to DH’ing his entire career. That’s worrisome, especially considering we have DJ Peterson putting up similar numbers in AAA, albeit with far less PA’s, and more defensive ability at 1B. The secondary pieces, we came out on top in. Blackburn was 1st rd pick out of high school who hasn’t progressed as expected but is still a solid get, while Jordan Pries came out of Stanford in 2011 and has been at AAA level for most of the last 3 years. He probably won’t get further than being spot starter.

Now to look ahead. There’s reasons to be excited about this roster.Felix returning, Diaz throwing fire and our top three players; Cano, Cruz and Seager, are all performing to expectations. But there is much to be worried about; our outfield is not good, the closers are shaky, and starting pitching has not met expectations. If the Mariners are to be buyers, I don’t expect them to move any major prospects, not that we really have any highly coveted ones. Teams have inquired about Paxton and Walker but the Mariners don’t appear ready to move either and I agree. The only other big name on the roster that could be dealt is Cruz and this may be the time to move him, if we are giving up on this year. The Padres will be moving pieces this deadline, as they are rebuilding yet again. That means Upton Jr or Kemp could be available and we need a legit outfielder. I’d prefer Upton with his smaller contract and ability to continue to play all OF positions.

I am not sure what I want the Mariners to do. Not entirely ready to mail in the season but I see a roster with too many shortcomings to compete this year. Maybe I need to lower my expectations. All I can do for now though is wait for August 1 to come and go.



M’s Recent Struggles Serve as Reminder: This is a Marathon, Not a Sprint


Photo Courtesy Jennifer Buchanon-USA Today Sports

By Braught / PNW Sports Fans

Today I received a text from a friend saying “I know it’s early but you can’t have downward spirals like this.” He was referring to the Mariners and their current 4 game losing streak. (Which will be snapped tonight as Cruz has just homered again.) I had to set him straight.

Normally I am a pessimistic Mariner fan. I’ve been through it all and been disappointed by almost all of it, holding onto only the small things, like Guti being resurrected last year. But this team has me optimistic. They have their warts and may not be as good as their May had us believing but here’s why I am optimistic as of June 7th.

The Mariner’s, losers of 8 of the last 11 games, have been operating without their starting SS, starting CF and their ace has missed his last two starts. Getting swept by the lowly Twins at home, with Felix and Taijuan pitching, is still unacceptable but the rest of the losses are unfortunate. Marte has been a solid SS for the M’s and on pace for a WAR over 3. Martin started the year off cold from the plate; he showed his power but wasn’t getting hits. Right when he was turning the corner and putting it all together he got hurt. Despite that cold start he is still batting. 262 with and OPS of 127. With Martin missing, we’ve had to see Aoki in CF. That isn’t a pretty site if your team is expected to make the playoffs.

Both of these guys will be back soon, Marte currently with the M’s and Martin playing in Tacoma come Thursday. Now Felix, hasn’t been his normal self, fastball is a couple MPH down, command isn’t always there but he is still the King. It appears he will miss more than the 2 or 3 starts we all hoped when it was announced. That gives us a chance to talk about our 6th starter, Paxton.

Paxton has shown glimpses of his ceiling but has struggled to maintain any consistency, losing the 5th starter spot to Karns. Paxton, in Tacoma, started really cold and confirmed the decision to send him there; since then he has performed ok. His first start up in the Bigs, was at Petco. A perfect pitcher friendly park to start in. Instead he gave up 6 runs in the first, mostly because of his throwing error and finished with a line of 3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 7 SO. Compare that to last night and his 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1BB and 10 K’s. He even hit 100 MPH multiple times. Last night is when we were able to see all the parts working together. His 20 or so lbs he lost in the winter, his more ¾ arm slot, his new mix of fastballs, cutters and curves. Now which pitcher we get in the future, who knows. But if it is the latter, we are in for a treat.

Another tidbit to be optimistic about is Diaz, who debuted last night as a reliever, after having only thrown something like 13 innings as a reliever at AA. He also hit 100 MPH multiple times, 10 of his 11 pitches were strikes and his off speed looked good. Don’t want to extrapolate too much out of a debut, i.e Ackley, but DAMN, that’s nice to have.

With injuries to two vital defensive positions and an ace missing, I still can be optimistic. Cruz is crushing everything in his site, Cano is having an All-Star season, Seager again is quietly doing what he is doing, and Seth Smith is the Man. Our pitching has hit a rough patch, but I believe we can pull through it and our bullpen has surprisingly been able t0 hold for the most part, onto the torrid start they had. Again, this team may not be the best team in the AL, but there is plenty to be optimistic about.