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James Paxton Posts Longest Start-of-Season Shutout Streak in Mariners History

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffApril 17, 2017

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 15: Starter James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners delivers pitcher during the first inning of a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on April 15, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.  (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton posted a third straight shutout Saturday against the Texas Rangers, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out nine over eight innings of work.

Paxton has now tossed 21.0 scoreless innings to begin 2017, the most shutout frames to start a season in franchise history, per the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info).

The 28-year-old lefty was selected by the Mariners in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB draft and quickly climbed the minor league ranks. After starting at Single-A in 2011, he worked his way up to the majors in just 3.5 seasons.

Paxton struggled to stay healthy early in his tenure at the major league level. The southpaw missed a large chunk of time in 2014 due to a back injury, a good portion of 2015 due to a left middle finger strain and skipped part of August last season after taking a ball off his left arm.Β Fortunately, none of the issues were related to injuries typically associated with prolonged pitching elbow problems.

Now healthy, Paxton has begun to display his full potential on the mound. With Felix Hernandez aging, the towering lefty could be the club's future ace of the staff. He will look to keep his scoreless streak alive in his next scheduled start Thursday against the Oakland Athletics.

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