Seattle Mariners: 6 questions ahead of opening day

With the 2021 regular season starting on Thursday, we take a look at some of the challenges facing the Seattle Mariners in the coming months.

The time for talking is nearly over. The Seattle Mariners will begin their 2021 regular season at home on Thursday, versus the San Francisco Giants.

Projections on where the Mariners stand are mixed, with some predicting they are a year away from contending, while others believe it could all fall into place this season. Regardless, the future looks bright for a young roster full of talent and potential.

Of course, with every new season comes various challenges. Here are six questions we have for the M’s ahead of opening day:

6. Is James Paxton’s spring training a sign of things to come?

When we last wrote about James Paxton, he was coming off an excellent 2021 Cactus League debut for the Mariners. He threw 4.1 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, giving up one run on two hits, while walking two batters and striking out eight.

Paxton’s impressive play continued into his second start on Saturday, versus the Giants. He allowed just two hits and a couple of walks in four scoreless innings, while striking out another nine batters.

As a result, the 32-year-old finished spring training with a 1.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 17-4 strikeout-to-walks ratio in two starts. The only reason he didn’t pitch in more games, was due to a delay in getting his work visa arranged.

Unsurprisingly, manager Scott Servais announced that Paxton would start the second game of the regular season, against the Giants. Now we wait to find out if the southpaw is truly back to his old form, but the signs are certainly encouraging.

NEXT: NICK MARGEVICIUS LOOKING OVER JUSTIN DUNN'S SHOULDER

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