Hisashi Iwakuma, in his second rehab start with the Tacoma Rainiers, pitched 52/3 strong innings in an 8-4 win over the Las Vegas 51s on Tuesday night.
Iwakuma was efficient, with 57 of his 82 pitches going for strikes. His 82 pitches were just brushing up against the allotted 90 pitches. He allowed five hits and one earned run while racking up six strikeouts.
Iwakuma was pulled after expressing some discomfort with his middle finger, which turned out to be a blister. He said this happens often during the season and it’s common for him.
Iwakuma said he won’t have a problem making adjustments with the blister as Seattle Mariners trainers familiar with the issue.
After his previous rehab start June 25, Iwakuma was not entirely pleased with his work. He was much happier with his pitching after Tuesday’s start.
“Overall, I think I did pretty good,” he said through a translator. “I threw a lot better today. I was able to get strike ones and get ahead of the count early.”
Tacoma manager Pat Listach said Iwakuma was phenomenal and was improved compared with his previous start.
“He was sharper,” Listach said. “I think he had better command of his off-speed pitches and he changed speeds on his fastball.”
Listach said Iwakuma showed good range on his velocity, with his fastball clocking anywhere from 83 to 90 mph. Listach said he was unsure whether Iwakuma’s next start will be with Tacoma or Seattle.
Specifically, Iwakuma expressed displeasure with his mechanics in his previous start, but said he believes he has ironed out those issues.
“I was able to make my adjustment today,” he said. “My shoulder wasn’t flying open today, so that’s a good sign. I was able to throw strikes in and out, so that was good.
Tacoma’s Chris Taylor extended his hitting streak to four games with a leadoff single. He would get another hit in the fifth for his first multihit game since June 20 against Albuquerque. He took a pitch to the hand, but extra padding in his new batting glove protected it from damage … Jesus Montero had a strong night at the plate. He went 4 for 5 with a double and three singles. Danny Farquhar’s struggles continued. Relieving Iwakuma, Farquhar struggled through an inning where he allowed three hits, a walk and three runs. The runs were unearned, however.
The Rainiers continue their four-game series with Las Vegas on Wednesday with right-hander Jordan Pries (3-1, 4.64 ERA) taking the mound. He will face Las Vegas right-hander Matthew Bowman (5-8, 5.73). First pitch is 7:05 p.m. and can be heard on 850-AM.