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James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 15: Starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after gettin the final out of the seventh inning during a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on April 15, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

Follow @craigcalcaterra