Hopeful pitching signs for Mariners in down April

Hopeful pitching signs for Mariners in down April

NEW YORK -- With Wednesday's rainout, the Mariners finished April at 11-14, the fifth straight year they've opened the season with a losing record in the first month.

Seattle's last winning April was 2009 when the club went 13-9 on the way to an 85-77 record, which also happens to be the Mariners' last winning season.

The Mariners were outscored 102-97 in their 25 games in the first month with a slash line of .231/.289/.368. How does that compare to a year ago? In 2013, the Mariners were 12-17 in April when they were outscored 128-95 and posted a slash line of .242/.306/.378.

But while Seattle's offensive numbers were superior last year, they've pitched better out of the gate this spring with a 3.67 ERA and .236 opponents' batting average as opposed to a 4.23 ERA and .249 batting average.

That pitching prowess is all the more impressive given that Hisashi Iwakuma was sidelined the entire month and James Paxton and Taijuan Walker are also on the disabled list. Iwakuma was 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in six April starts last year. He'll rejoin the rotation Saturday in Houston, while Paxton and Walker continue to play catch in Seattle as they work their way back.

Paxton has been sidelined since April 9 with a strained lat muscle, while Walker has yet to pitch in the Majors this season due to ongoing shoulder soreness.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.