The Mariners made history on the pitcher’s mound in 2016. A club-record 32 pitchers saw action this season, including 13 different starters, the most since 1999. Seattle set another club record as 21 different pitchers recorded a win, the most in franchise history.
From an individual standpoint, Felix Hernandez continued to establish his place atop the Mariners record books. Felix became the Mariners all-time leader in strikeouts on April 23 with his 2,163rd career strikeout, passing Randy Johnson. On May 9, Felix earned his 146th career win, passing Jamie Moyer’s previous club record.
Hisashi Iwakuma continued to be a rock in the rotation. He was the only member of the Opening Day roster to make every scheduled start this season. Iwakuma led the club in wins, games started, innings pitched and strikeouts while establishing a personal career-best with 16 wins.
Edwin Diaz burst onto the scene as a dynamic arm at the back end of the bullpen. Diaz struck out opposing batters at a prodigious rate, ranking 3rd in club history for strikeouts by a rookie reliever despite tossing just 51.2 innings.
The following is a recap of the best moments of 2016 from the Mariners pitching staff, as well as a comprehensive look at the historic seasons from Hernandez, Iwakuma and Diaz.
The Mariners Pitchers: 2016 in Review
The Hurlers…Seattle’s pitching staff posted a 4.00 ERA (647 ER, 1457.0 IP) with 1,318 strikeouts during the 162-game season…the starters were 62-53 with a 4.25 ERA (441 ER, 934.2 IP) with 768 strikeouts, while the relievers were 24-23 with a 3.55 ERA (206 ER, 522.1 IP) with 550 strikeouts.
Bullpen Bullies…the Mariners bullpen struck out a club record 550 batters, passing the 2013 club which struck out 535…the 550 strikeouts rank 3rd among American League bullpens behind Houston (617) and New York-AL (578) and 6th in the Majors…Edwin Diaz led Mariners relievers with 88 strikeouts and Steve Cishek was second with 76…it is the 6th time in club history that the bullpen has features two relievers with 75+ strikeouts (also: 2014, 2013, 2001, 2000, 1995), last by Danny Farquhar (82) & Fernando Rodney (76) in 2014.
Calling For Reinforcements…from the start of the season through the end of May, the Mariners used only 5 starters (Hisashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez, Nathan Karns, Wade Miley and Taijuan Walker)…Seattle was the last American League team to use a 6th starter…from June through the end of the season, Seattle used 13 different starters (including the original 5 in the rotation).
For Starters…Seattle used 13 different starters in 2016 (Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Wade Miley, Taijuan Walker, Nathan Karns, James Paxton, Wade LeBlanc, Adrian Sampson, Vidal Nuño, Mike Montgomery, Ariel Miranda, Cody Martin & Joe Wieland)…marks the 8th season in club history to have 13 or more pitchers make a start (last: 1999, 13)…Seattle was one of 9 teams to use 13+ starters this season (also: Atlanta – 16, Los Angeles – AL – 15, Cincinnati – 15, Los Angeles – NL – 15, Oakland – 14, Pittsburgh – 14, San Diego – 14 & Miami – 13).
Spreading Wins…Seattle had 21 different pitchers record a win this season, T5th-most in the Majors behind Atlanta (28), Los Angeles-AL (24), Los Angeles-NL (23) and New York-AL (22) and tied with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego and San Francisco…Hisashi Iwakuma led the team with 16 wins…nine different starters recorded a win as a starter, and 14 pitchers recorded a win as a reliever…Ariel Miranda & Mike Montgomery were the only hurlers to record a win out of the bullpen and as a starter…Seattle set a club record with 21 different pitchers recording a win (20 in 2015).
Finish It…On Sept. 13 at Los Angeles-AL, Taijuan Walker recorded his first career complete-game shutout…blanked the Angels on 3 hits while striking out 11 and not walking a batter in 9.0 innings pitched…retired the first 17 batters of the game before Kaleb Cowart reached on an error with 2 outs in the 6th…allowed his first hit to Kole Calhoun leading off the 7th inning…it was his 3rd career complete game (last: 7/31/15 at MIN)…he equaled his career-high with 11 strikeouts…became the 5th Mariners pitcher to toss a shutout while allowing 3 or fewer hits and striking out 10 or more; joining Randy Johnson (8x), Felix Hernandez (3x), Matt Young (1x) & Aaron Harang (6/11/13 vs. HOU)…tossed one of 3 shutouts in MLB this season with 3-or-fewer hits allowed, 10-or-more strikeouts and zero walks (also: Clayton Kershaw – LAD, 5/1 vs. SD & Vince Velasquez – PHI, 4/14 vs. SD)…became the first pitcher to toss a complete-game shutout vs. the Angels while recording 10-or-more strikeouts with 0 walks since 1992 and just the 5th pitcher to do so in Major League history, joining Kevin Tapani – 6/24/92 vs. CAL w/ MIN, Nolan Ryan, 9/30/89 at CAL w/TEX, Rich Gale, 6/26/78 at CAL w/KC and Jim Kaat, 4/22/62 at LAA w/MIN.
First Time for Everything…Tony Zych (4/21 at CLE), David Rollins (7/18 vs. Chicago-AL) and Ariel Miranda (8/9 vs. DET) each collected their first Major League wins.
KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK…the Mariners struck out 19 hitters on June 15 vs. Tampa Bay…it was the 6th time in club history that the pitching staff has struck out 19+ hitters in a game of any length (last: 21, April 17, 2013 vs. Detroit in 14.0 innings)…the Mariners record for strikeouts in a single game is 21 (3x)…the 19 strikeouts are the most in any road game, regardless of length.
That’s Rare…the Mariners first 9 wins of the season came from 9 different pitchers (Nick Vincent, Joaquin Benoit, Steve Cishek, Nathan Karns, Felix Hernandez, Taijuan Walker, Tony Zych, Joel Peralta & Wade Miley)…in the last 100 years, the Mariners are only the 5th team to open a season with each of their first 9 wins by 9 different pitchers…Seattle joins the 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates, the 2008 Oakland Athletics, the 1992 California Angels and the 1966 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Double-Digit K’s…Seattle starters tallied 10+ strikeouts 5 times this season, including a season-best of 11 three times: Taijuan Walker (11, April 25 vs. Houston, June 8 vs. Cleveland & Sept. 13 at Los Angeles-AL), James Paxton (June 6 vs. Cleveland) and Felix Hernandez (April 10 vs. Oakland).
What A Relief…Steve Cishek led Mariners relievers with 62 relief appearances and innings pitched with 64.0…after moving to the set-up role Aug. 20, was 2-0 with a 1.10 ERA (2 ER, 16.1 IP) with 14 strikeouts in 18 relief appearances.
Homegrown…Adrian Sampson, born in Redmond, Washington, started at Boston on June 18…he is the 14th pitcher in club history who was born in Washington state and the 6th Washington-born pitcher to make a start for Seattle…he joined Mike Campbell (34 starts), Bob Wells (21), Tom House (20), Jeremy Bonderman (7) and Rob Ramsay (4).
Shutouts…Seattle recorded 8 shutouts, T8th-most in the American League…Seattle had 2 individual shutouts this season: Taijuan Walker (Sept. 13 at LAA) & Wade Miley (April 30 vs. Kansas City).
September To Remember…Ariel Miranda equaled the club record for wins in the month of September by a rookie pitcher (also: Mark Langston (4-1, 1984) & Gil Meche (4-0, 1999)…Miranda went 4-1 with a 2.62 ERA (10 ER, 34.1 IP) in 6 starts in September…among Mariners rookie pitchers to make at least 5 starts in September, Miranda’s 2.62 ERA is 4th-lowest in club history.
Felix Hernandez: 2016 in Review
After DL…After being activated from the 15-day DL on July 20, was 7-4 with a 4.48 ERA (45 ER, 90.1 IP) with 69 strikeouts in 15 starts.
Winner…Seattle went 10-5 in his final 15 starts after he was activated from the disabled list including wins in 9 of the first 11 starts.
10…Recorded his 10th win of the season on Sept. 5 vs. TEX…has recorded at least 10 wins in 10 of his last 11 seasons, including each of his last 8 seasons…the streak of 8 consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins is currently tied for the 3rd-longest active streak in the Majors…trails only John Lackey (13) and Zack Greinke (9), while tied with David Price…it is the longest such streak in club history, ahead of Jamie Moyer (7) and Randy Johnson (6).
Rehab Stint…Began his rehab assignment with Short-A Everett on July 10 vs. Spokane (3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 59 pitches, 38 strikes)…starter for short-A Everett on July 10 (vs. Spokane), working 3.2 innings and allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits (2 BB, 6 SO)…was winning pitcher July 15 with AAA Tacoma (vs. Colorado Springs), tossing 5.2 IP and allowing just a solo HR (5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO) in 4-1 win.
D.L. Stint…Placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 1 (retroactive to May 28) with a right calf strain…activated on July 20.
Ranked…At the time of D.L. stint, his 2.86 ERA was the 8th-best in the American League, while his .217 opponent batting average ranked T8th.
Six Up, Six Down…Struck out 6 consecutive batters Aug. 15 at LAA, beginning with the final out of the 3rd inning through the 2nd out of the 5th inning…6 consecutive strikeouts are T2nd-most in club history (also: Taijuan Walker, Charlie Furbush & Rafael Soriano), trailing Mark Langston (7)…Felix is the first pitcher in club history to accomplish this feat twice.
Fast Start…Was 2-2 with a 1.38 ERA (5 ER, 32.2 IP) with 28 strikeouts in his first 5 starts of the season…was 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA (15 ER, 30.1 IP) with 25 strikeouts in his final 5 starts before going on the disabled list.
Strikeout King…Struck out the Angels Rafael Ortega in the first inning on April 23 for career strikeout 2,163, passing Randy Johnson for the all-time strikeout lead in club history.
Passing Jamie…Win on May 9 vs. Tampa Bay was #146 of his career, setting a club record in wins (Jamie Moyer has 145)…Felix is one of two active pitchers that hold their respective club records for career wins and career strikeouts, joining Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa.
April to Remember…Went 2-2 with 1.38 ERA (5 ER, 32.2 IP) in 5 starts in the month of April…during the month he limited opponents to a .165 (19×115) average, while walking 18 and striking out 28…his 1.38 ERA is the 2nd-lowest in club history in the month of April, trailing only Floyd Bannister’s 1.21 ERA in April in 1980…his .165 average was also 2nd-lowest in April in club history, trailing only Hisashi Iwakuma’s .160 opponent average set in 2013.
Pride of Venezuela…Tossed 6.0 innings on Opening Day on April 4 at Texas to give him 2,268.1 IP in his MLB career, the most by a Venezuelan-born pitcher, passing Freddy Garcia (2,264.0)…Felix already has the strikeout record by a Venezuelan (2,264) and his 154 wins rank 2nd (Freddy Garcia, 156).
Dime…Struck out season-best 10 batters April 10 vs. Oakland, his 35th career double-digit strikeout game, 2nd-most in club history (R. Johnson, 94).
Opening Day…Made his 9th career Opening Day start on April 4 at Texas, most in Mariners history…has started each of the Mariners last 8 Opening Days (since 2009)…with 9 Opening Day starts, is the only pitcher since 1900 with 9 Opening Day starts as a pitcher before turning 30, passing Dwight Gooden & Bert Blyleven with 8 pre-30 starts apiece… holds club records for Opening day starts (9), consecutive starts (8), wins (6) and strikeouts (68).
Hisashi Iwakuma: 2016 in Review
The Totals…Was 16-12 with a 4.12 ERA (91 ER, 199.0 IP) with 147 strikeouts in 33 starts.
Team Leader…Led the Mariners in wins (16), games started (33), innings (199.0) and strikeouts (147).
Just Win…Won a career-high 16 games, besting the 15 wins he recorded in 2014…he’s only the 7th Mariners pitcher to record at least 2 seasons with at least 15 wins, joining Jamie Moyer (4x), Freddy Garcia (3x), Felix Hernandez (3x), Randy Johnson (3x), Marc Langston (3x) and Aaron Sele (2x).
Leaderboard…Among American League pitchers ranked T6th in wins (16), T4th in starts (33), 11th in innings (199.0 IP).
Eating Innings…Tossed 199.0 innings, the 2nd-highest total of his Major League career (219.2 IP in 2013).
Quite the Finish…Was 15-8 with a 4.03 ERA (67 ER, 149.2 IP) with 109 strikeouts in his final 25 starts of the season…was 1-4 with a 4.38 ERA (24 ER, 49.1 IP) with 38 strikeouts in his first 8 starts of the season.
Winner…His 15 wins from May 20 through the end of the season were T4th-most in the Majors behind Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (16), Boston’s Rick Porcello (16) & Washington’s Max Scherzer (16) while being tied with Toronto’s J.A. Happ and Chicago’s Jon Lester.
Japan Leaderboard…Recorded a career-high 16 wins this season…his 16 wins are currently T2nd-most in a single season by a Japanese-born pitcher, trailing only 18 wins by Daisuke Matsuzaka-BOS in 2008…joins Yu Darvish-TEX (16 in 2012), Hiroki Kuroda-NYY (16 in 2012) and Hideo Nomo-LAD (16 in 1996, 2002 & 2003) as the only Japanese-born pitchers with 16 wins in a single season.
Streaker…Had a 5-game winning streak June 28-July 23 vs. PIT, vs. BAL, at KC, vs. HOU & at TOR…it was the second time in his career that he has won five straight starts (also: Aug. 8-Sept 5, 2014)…won a career-best 7 straight starts Aug. 16, 2013-May 20, 2014.
Rotation Rock…Was the only member of the Mariners Opening Day rotation to make every scheduled start.
Eight Was Great…Won 8 straight home starts, May 25-Aug.8…during that stretch he was 8-0 with a 2.62 ERA (16 ER, 55.0 IP) in 8 GS…only 2 Mariner pitchers (4x) have won more than 8 straight home starts (Randy Johnson, 16 & 11; Jamie Moyer, 10, twice)…Paul Abbott also won 8 straight, while Felix Hernandez (7, 8/28/09-4/21/10) is one of 6 Seattle pitchers to win 7 straight.
Edwin Diaz: 2016 in Review
The Closer…Was 0-2 with 18 saves (in 21 opportunities) with a 3.71 ERA (11 ER, 26.2 IP) with 39 strikeouts since moving to closer role (after Aug. 1).
Leader…His 17 saves since Aug. 1 led the Majors, ahead of Los Angeles-NL’s Kenley Jansen (16).
Rookie Saves…His 18 saves were the 2nd-most in club history by a rookie behind Kazuhiro Sasaki (37 in 2000).
Strikeout Record…His 15.33 strikeout per 9.0 inning rate is tops among relievers in club history (min. 50.0 IP), ahead of Danny Farquhar (12.77 in 2013).
Save It…Successfully converted his first 11 save opportunities (through Aug. 26), and 7 for his last 10 to end the season.
Punch-Out…Struck out 88 batters, the 3rd-most in club history by a Mariners rookie behind Enrique Romo (92) and Carson Smith (92).
First Save…Recorded his first Major League save and struck out 3 on Aug. 2 vs. Boston (1.0 IP, BB, 3 K).
That’s a Record…Recorded his 50th career strikeout in 25.1 IP, fastest of any pitcher to make his Major League debut since 1893 (Elias Sports Bureau).
High Rates…Struck out 15.33 batters per 9.0 innings, the 2nd-best rate among relievers in 2016 behind New York’s Dellin Betances (15.53) and the 8th-best in Major League history.
Yer Out…Struck out 2+ batters in 29 of his 49 outings and struck out at least one batter in 42 of 49 games.
Strikeout…Recorded 11 straight outs via strikeout June 28-July 6, setting a club record (previous: 10, Randy Johnson, July 18-24, 1997).