Gonzales' next start pushed back for extra rest

Mariners lefty is 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA this month

August 18th, 2018

SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Scott Servais will juggle his rotation in the coming days and it's not just about sliding back in as a starter to replace the injured on Monday against the Astros.

Servais said the decision has also been made to move young lefty from his scheduled start Sunday against Dodgers ace back to Wednesday's series finale against the Astros at Safeco Field.

The decision on who will start Sunday afternoon against the Dodgers hasn't been announced. seems a likely candidate as he was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday, where he was working as a starter, to fill the long-relief role after Hernandez filled in following Paxton's injury Tuesday night.

But that would require Bergman not being needed in long relief on Friday or Saturday. is scheduled to start Saturday for Tacoma and could be held back to start Sunday for Seattle if needed.

The Mariners want to be careful with Gonzales' building workload. Though he's 12-8 with a 3.91 ERA, he's 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA in his three August starts and his innings total of 142 2/3 has already exceeded last year's 126 2/3 frames he threw in the Majors and Minors after coming back from 2016 Tommy John surgery.

Gonzales has the most wins on the Mariners' staff and is second to Mike Leake in innings pitched. He's one of the bigger reasons Seattle has exceeded most people's expectations and the Mariners want to keep him healthy for the duration of the season and potential playoffs.

"The main objective is to have a strong finish and not be crawling across the finish line at the end of the year," Gonzales said. "In that aspect and that lens, I'm taking it as a positive. Obviously I'm a competitor. I take it as a challenge to go out and have a strong start on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to the test."

Gonzales is quick to point out he doesn't think he needs extra rest, however. Fastball command has been his issue recently, he says, and he's gone to great lengths to stay strong and healthy.

But he's not going to argue with getting his start pushed back and understands the decision.

"At the end of the day, we want to win," he said. "So as far as taking into account what it will take me to get quality starts, I think just resetting some things and coming back with a strong start after a couple days of rest, that's good for everybody. They have my best interest in mind. I'm not taking this as they don't believe in me or anything like that. It's collectively, let's figure out how we win games late in the year."

Servais has been keeping a watchful eye on Gonzales for the past month, knowing he's getting into uncharted territory.

"It's something we've talked about for a while now," Servais said. "We gave him a pretty good break at the All-Star break. We'll give him a couple extra days here and then we have some off days coming up, so he'll get a couple extra days between his next start. So we have a span of about 20 days where he'll make three starts instead of four."