Friday was a night of the unexpected for Seattle Mariners‘ Hisashi Iwakuma — just in the worst way, that’s all.
Not only was the breakout starter the loser in two consecutive starts for the first time in the 2013 season, but a vice he thought he’d long put away came back to bite him: the home run. Now, it’s not as through the righty has been homer-proof this season as he did allow at least one long ball in seven of his first 11 starts, but he always limited the damage enough so that it never really hurt him.
Giving up three homers in one start, on the other hand, proved to be a little more than he could handle.
That’s exactly what transpired as Iwakuma took on the divisional rival Oakland Athletics, with Yoenis Cespedes, Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp all too happy to oblige in the Japanese starter’s off-day en route to a 6-3 loss for the M’s. All four earned runs charged to the 32-year old were the result of the three bombs, and it was just the first time this season that he’d given up more than a pair in a start.
In fact, Friday was the first time he’d given up a home run since five starts ago on May 26, so it’s been a while since he’s had to watch opponents doing a home run trout with him on the mound, let alone three.
Was he due? Maybe, but given the track record on the season thus far, I think it’d be reasonable to expect that he won’t be giving up home runs in bunches like this anytime soon. The Mariners can take the consolation that despite the rather uncharacteristically generous home run-serving ways, it was actually business as usual for Iwakuma — which is to say that he was actually quite good otherwise.
Yes, he allowed four runs for the second start in a row, and both against the A’s but unlike the previous one on June 16 where he absolutely labored through 92 pitches over five innings, he pitched a full seven on 98 pitches this time around and allowed just six hits and no walks, while striking out six.
That’s an in-game WHIP of 0.86 to a lopsided 5.14 ERA, and if one of those homers hadn’t come with with a runner on, Iwakuma would have actually had a quality start.
Just call it a ERA-FIP correction, I suppose.