SEATTLE -- After getting off to one of the best starts by a pitcher in Major League history, Mariners left-hander James Paxton was named American League Player of the Week on Monday.
"He's certainly deserving of it," manager Scott Servais said. "Pax is throwing the ball outstanding. He's off to a great start. Looking back to where he was last year at this time, it's been quite a turnaround. Certainly we saw it last year in the second half, moving in the right direction. He's just continued to expand upon it, and good for him. He's in a really good spot right now."
Paxton went 2-0 and didn't allow a run in 15 innings in his two starts last week, striking out 17 in victories against the Astros and Rangers. Paxton has yet to allow a run in three starts this season, becoming just the second Major Leaguer since 2003 and 10th in MLB history to open a season with three starts of six-plus scoreless innings.
The others are George McQuillan of the Phillies (1907), Lefty Leifield of the Pirates ('07), Ray Caldwell of the Yankees ('14), George Mogridge of the Yankees ('16), Harry Brecheen of the Cardinals ('48), Luis Tiant of the Indians ('66), Tommy Greene of the Phillies ('91), Woody Williams of the Cardinals (2003) and Jordan Zimmermann of the Tigers ('16).
Paxton's 21 consecutive shutout innings to start the season are a Mariners record, passing reliever Mark Lowe (17 2/3 in 2006) for the overall mark,and Felix Hernandez's 17 innings in '07 for a starting pitcher.
It was the first Player of the Week honor for Paxton and the first by a Seattle pitcher since Hisashi Iwakuma on Aug. 17, 2015. The last left-handed Mariners pitcher to earn the honor was Randy Johnson on June 9, 1997.
That's pretty good company for Paxton, who opened last year in Triple-A Tacoma and then went 6-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 20 starts after his midseason promotion.
"I've come a long way, made some big adjustments and learned a lot, with the help of [pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.] teaching me about my pitches and how to use them," Paxton said. "That's been huge for me, and it's showing right now."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.