It’s a good thing I am a writer not a speaker, for I can type polydactyl, but I can’t pronounce it. Polydactyl actually refers to a person with six fingers and toes, and to be political correct, so as not to offend, they are not monsters.
What the Mariners have created has nothing to do with fingers or toes. Instead they created a six headed pitching rotation for the rest of the season, or the Mariners change their mind, whichever comes first. I don’t know the word for six headed so polydactyl will have to do.
This afternoon (Thursday) Joe Saunders will wrap up the series in Kansas City. The home stand beginning with Tampa Bay will have Iwakuma on Friday, James Paxton making his major league debut Saturday, Ramirez on Sunday, then Houston comes to town Monday when Walker will pitch, then Saunders on Tuesday. Felix has been pushed back to Wednesday giving his back more rest.
With roster expansion during September it gives the Mariners a chance to rest arms. They do not want Walker to pitch more than 165 innings or so. They want to baby him as Washington did with Stephen Strasburg. Of course Strasburg had Tommy John surgery in 2010. The surgery has become common for young pitchers whose arms are babied. I have talked about this before, and will again.
It would do baseball good, not to mention young pitchers, to listen to Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, both Hall of Famers, who know something about pitching. But baseball people have trouble seeing the obvious. Year after year young arms need surgery and baseball can’t figure it out. Pitches who throw lots of innings build up arm strength, those who don’t have arm breakdowns.
And now back to the Mariners. Pray for Taijuan Walker‘s arm. James Paxton’s too while you’re at it. The Mariners can use all the sound arms they can find. We shall see how the polydactyl monster works, not just for the two rookies, but for Saunders, Felix, and Iwakuma, none of whom are accustomed to an extra days rest. Their arms may atrophy.