Seattle Mariners: Justus Sheffield aiming to bounce back in second start

After struggling in his first game of the 2020 season, Justus Sheffield will look to improve in his second start for the Seattle Mariners on Monday night, against the Oakland Athletics.

When Justus Sheffield was included as part of the return package for James Paxton’s trade to the New York Yankees, he arrived with great expectations. At the time of the deal he was considered the Yankees’ top prospect and immediately took up the same designation with the Seattle Mariners.

The anticipation surrounding Sheffield was understandable. He had all the arm talent, athleticism and potential you look for in a potential top of the rotation pitcher.

As much as Sheffield’s first season in Seattle was underwhelming, the expectation were still there. This only increased after an outstanding spring training and summer camp, and he entered the 2020 campaign ready to be part of the regular rotation.

Unfortunately for Sheffield and the Mariners, his first start couldn’t have gone much worse. His only real flaw is his lack of control and consistency with his pitches, and it was there for all to see against the Los Angeles Angels.

Sheffield allowed four walks, three hits and four earned runs in just over three innings of action. He was finally removed from the mound in the fourth after allowing two consecutive batters to reach base, and earned the loss as the Mariners were beaten 10-2.

Unsurprisingly, a byproduct of this was that Sheffield struggled with strikeouts, registering just two in his 67 pitches. During his previous outing in an intrasquad game, he had managed eight K’s

Despite everything that went wrong against the Angels, Sheffield is still expected to be a part of the Mariners’ organization for a long time. In addition, you would like to think the situation will improve in his second start of the season on Monday night, against the Oakland Athletics.

At the same time however, Sheffield may be beginning to feel a pressure to succeed, and soon. Through eight career starts and one bullpen appearance for the Mariners he has been underwhelming, with an 0-2 record, 6.00 ERA and 1.769 WHIP.

The main positive for Sheffield has been his ability to strike batters out, average 9.0 per nine innings. His main weapons are his sinker and slider, but he must improve the aforementioned command issues if he is to fully utilize the tools at his disposal.

The Mariners have all the faith in the world in Sheffield. Now it’s up to him to justify this, starting at 6:10 pm PT on Monday Night.

What kind of outing are you expecting from Sheffield on Monday night? Do you predict him will improve against the Athletics, or continue to struggle? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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