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Miranda has been unexpected stalwart

Lefty leads Mariners' staff with seven wins
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

ANAHEIM -- Imagine this. As the Mariners hit the halfway mark of their season, Ariel Miranda -- who wasn't expected to be in the rotation at the beginning of the year -- has won more games than four members of that projected rotation, combined.

Not only does Miranda lead the Mariners' staff with a 7-4 record, he's recorded more victories than Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Yovani Gallardo and Drew Smyly put together.

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ANAHEIM -- Imagine this. As the Mariners hit the halfway mark of their season, Ariel Miranda -- who wasn't expected to be in the rotation at the beginning of the year -- has won more games than four members of that projected rotation, combined.

Not only does Miranda lead the Mariners' staff with a 7-4 record, he's recorded more victories than Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Yovani Gallardo and Drew Smyly put together.

View Full Game Coverage

Smyly, of course, never pitched at all this season due to an elbow injury, which opened the door for Miranda's last-minute addition to the staff. But Hernandez, Iwakuma and Gallardo -- the three veterans of the staff -- are a combined 6-11, while James Paxton is 5-3.

In other words, without Miranda, the Mariners would be in a world of hurt, and he showed again how good he can be on Friday by firing seven scoreless innings with just two hits allowed in a 10-0 victory over the Angels that lowered his ERA to 3.82.

"It's been very, very important what he's brought to the table," manager Scott Servais said Saturday. "I remember the day we were sitting down with him in the office [in Peoria, Ariz.] and telling him he was going to get optioned to the Minor League side and saying to him, 'You will be back, you will impact our team.' Little did we know, four or five days later he was back and he's had a big impact."

Miranda is the only Mariners starter who didn't miss a turn in the first half. He leads the staff with his 99 innings pitched and has the lowest WHIP (1.14) and batting average against (.214) of any rotation member.

And his outing on Friday ranked right up there with a complete-game, nine-strikeout 7-1 victory over the Rays on May 4, as his most dominant outings of the season.

"The thing that sometimes goes unnoticed with him is he's a really good competitor," Servais said. "He's not fluent in the language and conversing with him isn't that easy, but if you watch him during the course of a game, he has the ability to compete, even on the nights he doesn't really have it. And last night he had it. It was as good as we've seen him."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Ariel Miranda