The Seattle Mariners are built from the pitching staff out, and a nice little surprise from the rotation shined again in a 7-1 victory over the AL West rival Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Monday.
Roenis Elias went 6.2 innings, allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks, and dialed up a handful of strikeouts in earning his first victory of the season. Elias now has a 2.16 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP; with three starts to his name this season, he looks like the kind of pitcher who could be a significant piece in the rotation.
The Cuban rookie earned his spot earlier this season due to the injury to Hisashi Iwakuma. Still, Elias has pitched much like the player he is currently filling for. He finds his spots in the zone well, keeps the ball in the ballpark and opponents are having a difficult time making solid contact for hits. Elias definitely benefits from the luxury of pitching at Safeco Field, but Texas has a hitter-friendly park and he still managed an extremely strong start.
Odds are, Elias numbers will regress towards the mean not only because it is nearly impossible to sustain this kind of pace, but also because hitters will learn bits and pieces about how he pitches and when to strike. Regardless, Elias has proven to be the right choice to make the rotation and he may help the Mariners stay in the AL playoff race all season long.