CLEVELAND -- During a Spring Training game on March 8 between the Mariners and the Indians, Mariners reliever James Pazos got ahead of Edwin Encarnacion 0-2. The next pitch the left-hander threw was a fastball in the middle of the zone, resulting in an RBI double that nearly went over
CLEVELAND -- During a Spring Training game on March 8 between the Mariners and the Indians, Mariners reliever James Pazos got ahead of Edwin Encarnacion 0-2. The next pitch the left-hander threw was a fastball in the middle of the zone, resulting in an RBI double that nearly went over the center-field fence.
In relief of starter Ariel Miranda, Pazos had a chance to redeem himself in Friday's 3-1 win over the Indians. Mariners manager Scott Servais called on the left-hander to face Encarnacion with one out and a runner on first in the sixth inning.
In their second matchup, there was a different result. Pazos struck out Encarnacion swinging on three pitches, and the designated hitter stared out at the left-hander before he walked back to the dugout.
"This time, it was a little better round," Pazos said about the strikeout. "I think he was maybe just surprised by that."
All three of the pitches Pazos threw in the at-bat were fastballs on the outside corner, with the strikeout pitch clocking in at 99 MPH.
"Fastball," Servais said when asked what worked so well for the left-hander on Friday. "That was the fastball. He had a good one tonight and he had a lot of life on the fastball. He threw a few breaking balls but predominately it was fastballs, he was going right after them. He had it really going on tonight, it was nice to see."
Pazos struck out Jose Ramirez on four pitches to end the inning, and then came on in the seventh and struck out the first two hitters he faced -- Jason Kipnis and Austin Jackson -- before giving up a single to Abraham Almonte. The left-hander was pounding the strike zone, as the first ball he threw on the night didn't come until his first pitch to Jackson after he struck out Kipnis on three pitches.
"It felt good," Pazos said about his fastball. "I always have confidence in my fastball, but tonight it felt good."
The left-hander induced two straight groundouts -- Yan Gomes to end the seventh and Carlos Santana to start the eighth -- before allowing a one-out double to Francisco Lindor. Brandon Guyer, the Tribe's specialist against lefty pitchers, stepped in against Pazos but flew out to right field for the second out. Servais then turned the ball over to closer Edwin Diaz, who locked down the four-out save to give the Mariners the victory.
"When they went to their bullpen ... those are two pretty good arms they threw at us," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Pazos and Diaz can really bring it."
Pazos went 2 1/3 innings and only allowed two hits and no walks while tallying four strikeouts on 29 pitches, 21 of which were strikes.
"For me, [Pazos] and the job he did tonight got us over the hump," Servais said. "He came in, he was firing bullets and was very aggressive and went right after them. He's got that kind of stuff and he had a really good rhythm in his delivery and he was really hammering the strike zone."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland who covered the Mariners on Friday.