We didn’t catch him on his way up to the majors, but we’re seeing him tonight. Seattle Mariners top starting pitcher prospect George Kirby is taking the mound for Tacoma this evening.
Kirby has pitched pretty well during his first major league trial, going 2-3 with a 3.78 ERA. The big fastball and excellent control that he displayed in the lower minor leagues has been there for him in the majors, allowing him to have a level of success despite giving up the 15th-highest hard contact rate among major league pitchers with 50 or more innings. He has walked only nine batters in 64.1 big league innings, just about eliminating free baserunners.
The Mariners are concerned about Kirby’s workload, which is why he is in Tacoma for the moment. He has already reached a professional career-high by pitching 89 innings this season, between Double-A and MLB. However, it should be noted that he pitched 111 innings in 2019 combined between college (he went to Elon University) and Everett after getting drafted.
With the combination of the major league all-star break and some days off in the schedule, the Mariners decided to option Kirby to Tacoma and have him make a “light touch” start, if you will, to keep him ready for after the break. He’s going to start for Tacoma tonight, but it will be a brief outing. Look for him to pitch only two or three innings, just to keep the feel and the routine.
This is likely to be Kirby’s only Tacoma appearance, at least for now. The Mariners schedule has them coming out of the all-star break needing a fifth starter the first time through the rotation.
YESTERDAY: Rainiers starter Justus Sheffield turned in his longest start of the season, lasting 6.2 innings and pitching the Rainiers to a 7-3 victory over Oklahoma City. Sheffield did not walk a batter while allowing seven hits and three runs (two earned), picking up the win. Kyle Lewis hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the third inning, and the Rainiers tacked on three more runs during a fourth inning rally.
TODAY: Oklahoma City Dodgers (51-37) at Tacoma Rainiers (37-50), 7:05.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Dodgers.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Travis Barbary.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
PITCHERS: RHP Andre Jackson (0-6, 6.31) at RHP George Kirby (–)
This is Kirby’s Triple-A debut.
ROSTER MOVES: Infielder Kevin Padlo has been optioned back to Tacoma, as the Mariners reinstated Carlos Santana from the restricted list. Santana had to step away for a day for a family issue.
HOT HITTERS: Jarred Kelenic has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games… Drew Ellis has hit safely in eight of his last ten games… Joe Odom has a five-game hitting streak.
OPPONENT NEWS: Oklahoma City is tied with El Paso for the best record in the PCL… two of the Los Angeles organization’s best infield prospects are with Oklahoma City, in third baseman Miguel Vargas and second baseman Michael Busch… Vargas has an eight-game hitting streak, but he’s gone now because he’s in the MLB All-Star Futures Game being played today at Dodger Stadium… Drew Avans has reached base safely in 27 straight games… Eddy Alvarez is one of the most interesting players in the league, a two-sport Olympic medalist in baseball and speed skating… Oklahoma City has former Rainiers Ty Kelly, Daniel Zamora, and Sam Gaviglio on the active roster, with Stefen Romero on the injured list.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
PCL SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to broadcasts and Gameday screens right here.
- Larry Stone writes that Julio Rodriguez has a chance to become the face of baseball. This is no joke, coming from Stoney.
- Dave Niehaus would have loved Julio, Ryan Divish writes. He hit a grand slam last night and the Mariners won their 12th in a row.
- Rick Rizzs is right. Broadcasters love inside-the-park home runs.
- Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford is back in the lineup today after missing a couple games because of an injury to his throwing hand.