Marco Gonzales prodded enough to get the Seattle Mariners to commit to starting him one more time before the season ends on Sunday.
Mariners manager Scott Servais confirmed plans to start the former Gonzaga University standout on Thursday in the series opener against the Texas Rangers before going with Wade LeBlanc on Friday.
He said he’s yet to determine whether they’d do the same for James Paxton and give him one more start before riding off into the offseason.
“We’ll wait and see on Saturday and Sunday, yet,” Servais said. “If he feels well, I would bring him back again and we’d look at probably 80-85 pitches.”
Paxton said Monday night that he’d like to get one more start to get closer to 160 innings pitched for the season. He was limited to 71 pitches when he tossed four innings in Monday’s loss to the Athletics, and Paxton allowed two runs and three hits with five strikeouts -- pushing his season total to 199 strikeouts.
One more K and Paxton would become the sixth pitcher in Mariners history with 200 strikeouts in a season, joining Randy Johnson (seven times), Felix Hernandez (six), Mark Langston (four), Floyd Bannister (one) and Erik Hanson (one).
“You could still see he had the pneumonia and there was a drag on his body and energy level,” Servais said. “Hopefully he gets a next turn around and in four days he feels better and the results allow him to go deeper into the game.”
Servais said he’s also leaving open using Erasmo Ramirez for one more start, but that will depend on how Mike Leake is after Tuesday’s start.
5 for 25
The Mariners do have the fortune of a rotation that was more solidified top to bottom than any in the majors. They entered Tuesday as the only team in baseball to have five starters make at least 25 starts.
And take that stat while considering where the rotation was last year. Ariel Miranda was the only pitcher to make at least 25 starts, and he’s no longer with the club.
Paxton, Gonzales and LeBlanc have each reached career-high marks in starts and innings pitched this season. Felix Hernandez, who will start for the final time this year on Wednesday (with a career-high 5.46 ERA) has started 27 games. Leake made his 31st start Tuesday night.
That’s helped turn their rotation into what was a perceived weakness going into the year into maybe their greatest strength, outside of second-half trips to the disabled list for Paxton, Hernandez and Gonzales.
“As crazy as it sounds, when you got that many guys making that many starts what it really does is solidify what’s going on at the minor-league level,” Servais said. “Because you don’t have all the juggling around like we did last year.
“I look back to the Braves when they had those guys every year pumping out starts with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, and what that does is it really solidifies your organization from top to bottom. Unfortunately we just didn’t do enough on offense to win enough games and make a run in the second half.”
Minor league awards
The Mariners announced winners of their organizational awards on Tuesday.
Here’s where those went:
1B Joey Curletta (Double-A Arkansas) -- Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year
-- The 24-year-old was acquired last year from the Phillies for switch-handed pitcher Pat Venditte and hit .282 this season with 23 home runs and 94 RBI. He earned Texas League Player of the Year. He’s a former sixth-round pick by the Dodgers in 2012 and not among the Mariners’ top-10 organizational prospects ranked by Baseball America.
RHP Matt Festa (Double-A Arkansas, Mariners) -- Jamie Moyer Minor League Pitcher of the year
-- The 25-year-old is the Mariners’ No. 9 organizational prospect by Baseball America and made his big-league debut after being drafted by the Mariners in the seventh round in 2016. Entering Tuesday he had allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings pitched for the Mariners. He had a 2.76 ERA in 44 games for Arkansas with 67 strikeouts in 49 innings.
C/1B Dean Nevarez (Arizona Rookie League) -- Edgar Martinez PTPA Award
-- Dipoto created the productive team plate appearance (PTPA) award to recognize the hitter who best embodied their control the zone philosophy. Nevarez, 21, was their 19th round pick this year out of San Diego State. This means he’s earned an invite to big-league spring training for the upcoming season.
RHP Jack Anderson (high Single-A Modesto) -- 60 ft. 6 in. Club Award
-- This is essentially the same thing as the PTPA award, only for pitchers. Anderson, 24, had a 2.68 ERA in 44 relief appearances for Modesto. He was the Mariners’ 23rd round pick in 2016 out of Penn State University.
1B Evan White (high Single-A Modesto/Triple-A Tacoma) -- Alvin Davis “Mr. Mariner” Award
-- White, the Mariners first-round pick in 2017 out of the University of Kentucky, was selected for this award because of his play and leadership skills on and off the field. White for the season hit .300 and was selected to the California League Postseason All-Star team as the league’s top first baseman. He also played four games for the Rainiers. He’s the Mariners’ No. 2 prospect by Baseball America behind 2016 first-round pick Kyle Lewis.
OF Braden Bishop (Double-A Arkansas) -- Dan Wilson Community Service Award
-- The 25-year-old out of the University of Washington had his season cut short after 84 games because he took a pitch off his forearms that required surgery. He batted .284 with a .361 on-base percentage and was the Texas League Player of the Month in June. The award recognizes Bishop’s work with 4MOM, a charity he started to bring awareness and raise money to find a cure for ALS, which his mother was diagnosed with in 2014. He’s the Mariners’ No. 5 prospect by Baseball America.
Jose Umbria (Single-A Clinton) -- Dave Henderson Minor League Staff Member of the Year
-- Umbria completed his ninth season as Clinton’s hitting coach.
Hernandez (8-13, 5.46 ERA) starts for the Mariners at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday in the final meeting of the season against the Athletics, who will start RHP Edwin Jackson (6-3, 3.18 ERA). The game will broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM radio.