He will take the ball on Apr. 4 in Houston against Lance McCullers. Iwakuma posted a 6.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 12 strikeouts in 16 innings this spring. While he is the Mariners' No. 2 starter, he might be only the third or fourth most appealing starter in this rotation for fantasy purposes, behind Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, and possibly Drew Smyly.
Iwakuma will throw in a Friday minor league start, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
The veteran right-hander last pitched Saturday against the Giants, an outing in which he racked up five strikeouts over 3.2 innings but also surrendered three runs. Iwakuma is scheduled to go "five or six innings" in an effort to keep him on pace for the regular season.
Iwakuma racked up five strikeouts and gave up three earned runs on six hits over 3.2 innings in Saturday's 6-5 Cactus League win over the Giants.
After a dreadful start last Monday against the Brewers that left the veteran rattled, Iwakuma bounced back with a better outing, although he ran into early trouble. Iwakuma gave up an RBI double to Joe Panik and run-scoring single to Jarrett Parker in the first, then saw Parker victimize him again with a leadoff solo home run in the third. However, the right-hander was sharp overall with his command, throwing 51 of 65 pitches for strikes. He came away feeling much more confident despite some struggles. "Compared to my last start, today I had better balance with my upper body and lower body," Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. "I was going up and down instead of side to side. I was able to get strike one for the most part. Compared to my last start, I was able to make adjustments."
Iwakuma gave up seven earned runs on six hits and two walks over 2.2 innings in Monday's 24-3 Cactus League loss to the Brewers.
Staked to 1-0 lead entering the bottom of the first, Iwakuma ran into trouble early, giving up an infield single to Keon Broxton and walk to Jesus Aguilar before a Kirk Nieuwenhuis double to deep center plated the first two runs of the game for Milwaukee. The second inning proved to be even worse, with the veteran right-hander surrendering back-to-back home runs to Broxton and Travis Shaw. Iwakuma was pulled after yielding a two-out RBI single to Orlando Arcia in the third and was charged with an additional run when Manny Pina's double off reliever Evan Scribner drove in Arcia. The outing officially marked the third time in his career that Iwakuma has given up seven earned runs in an appearance, although the other two occasions came in regular season action. The 35-year-old had surrendered just one run over four innings in his first two spring appearances coming into Monday, so the disastrous outing left the veteran reeling. "Overall, my timing, my balance...," he said. "I couldn't get my lower body to sync to my upper body. I couldn't the feel for anything. Nothing was working. I have nothing to say today that went well."
Iwakuma gave up a hit and a walk over two scoreless innings in Wednesday's 14-6 Cactus League loss to the Indians.
The veteran righty was even better Wednesday than in his somewhat uneven debut last Friday, as he gave just a leadoff double to Bradley Zimmer and one free pass over 32 pitches. Iwakuma was happy with both his ability to keep the ball down and the life on his fastball, and manager Scott Servais also termed Iwakuma's second outing "much crisper" than the first. The 35-year-old is slated to bump his workload up to three innings next Monday versus the Brewers.
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