Seattle Mariners call top pitcher George Kirby; the right-hander will start Sunday against the Rays

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The Seattle Mariners are calling top pitcher George Kirby to start Sunday against the Rays, manager Scott Servais announced Saturday. Chris Flexen, starting on Sunday, is postponed to Monday. Kirby, a right-hander, effectively replaces Matt Brash, who was sent to Triple-A earlier this week, in Seattle’s rotation.

Kirby, 24, is a former No. 20 overall pick for Elon University. This season, he’s been dominant in five starts at the Double-A level, with a 1.82 ERA and 32 strikeouts against five walks in 24 2/3 innings. In parts of three minor league seasons, Kirby has an ERA of 2.34 with an equally impressive K/BB ratio of 6.40. He worked almost exclusively as a starter.

Heading into the 2022 season, our very own RJ Anderson ranked Kirby the No. 24 prospect in all of baseball. This is what he wrote at the time:

Kirby split last season between High- and Double-A, posting a 2.53 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.33. He is more than a statistical marvel; he increased his speed without sacrificing control (he walked less than two batters per nine innings as a pro) or the breadth of his arsenal. His combination of tricks and polish should see him become the first of a few incoming arms to debut for the Mariners.

The Mariners have positioned themselves as contenders this season. However, after a strong start to 2022, they enter Saturday’s roster having lost five in a row and nine of their last 10. Right now, the SportsLine projection system only gives the M’s a 15.9% chance of making the newly expanded playoff field for 2022.

Once in Seattle, Kirby will join a rotation that ranks 17th in MLB in starters’ ERA and 23rd in starters’ K/BB ratio.

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