It’s no secret to Mariners fans at spring training that there’s a fight for the fifth spot in the bullpen. Paxton, a veteran for the Mariners is showing well, but Karns may be showing a bit better.
Karns is new to the team this year, getting traded early in the off season from the Tampa Bay Rays. Karns has a ERA of 4.0 and a 8-7 win loss ratio in his three years of being in the MLB (not including spring training games). So far in spring training he has pitched for one loss and one win, right down the middle. His last start was on March 18th against the Texas Rangers. The final score being 7-1 Karns got to leave the mound with his head held high. Karns played for 4 ⅔ innings, but allowed one run on three hits as well as seven strikeouts in the game. Karns also threw 81 pitches (41 strikes, 40 balls) and he gained control of his fastball as the game went on.
Sitting down with Nathan Karns, I got a chance to talk to him about his experience at spring training and the struggle of getting onto the team. When asking what his biggest struggle would be this season he replied, “right off the bat, getting on the team,” with a simple chuckle. “I’m in competition right now with a few other people so that’s my first obstacle and whatever happens after that I’ve gotta just go back and do what I do and try to make that start every 5th day and keep my body healthy to make those starts.
Karns is looking good number wise. Out of his 13 and ⅔ innings pitched, he’s only allowed 5 runs. While his competitor James Paxton has pitched for 11 innings allowing for 11 runs.
Karns is very aware of the fight he is in with Paxton for the 5th spot in the bullpen, we just have to sit in wait to see who they keep on the roster by opening day on April 8th.
Photo Credit: Maddie Crisman