The Seattle Mariners could be without ace James Paxton as they make their push for the postseason

The Seattle Mariners were dealt a potentially huge blow to their starting rotation after James Paxton suffered an injury in the 7th inning of last night’s contest with the Los Angeles Angels, per ROOT Sport’s Jen Mueller.

Entering Thursday with a one-game lead for the second Wild Card spot in the American League, the Mariners now face the possibility of being without their best pitcher for an unknown amount of time.

According to the AP’s Tim Booth, Paxton will undergo an MRI on Friday to determine the extent of the injury.

Paxton has been the lone bright spot in the Mariners’ rotation this season and entered Thursday’s contest with a chance to become the first pitcher in team history to win eight consecutive games. He came into start against the Angels sporting a 12-3 record and 2.70 ERA, with 132 strikeouts in just over 113 innings pitched. The Canadian southpaw was especially dominant last month, going 6-0 record and 1.37 ERA, earning himself AL Pitcher of the Month honors for July in the process.

The Mariners have already used a whopping 15 different starting pitchers in 2017 and losing Paxton for any length of time is worrisome as they find themselves in the thick of a playoff race. He spent a brief stint on the disabled list back in May due to a strained left forearm, but with just over a month and a half left to go this season, one more DL stint could spell the end of a shot at the playoffs for Seattle.

General manager Jerry Dipoto surprisingly opted not to be buyers at the trade deadline as many expected, despite rumors of being a major player in the Sonny Gray sweepstakes. Instead, the club added more minor depth pieces to the pitching staff with the likes of David Phelps, Marco Gonzales and Erasmo Ramirez. In an ideal world, Dipoto likely envisioned Paxton at the top of Seattle’s rotation being just enough for them to sneak into the postseason for the first time since 2001. Now, with Paxton’s injury, they’ll be crossing their fingers for whether or not it can become a reality.

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