Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers
Dates: Monday, September 11, 2017 – Thursday, September 14, 2017
Location: Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX
Seattle is 5-9 in the last 14 games and hanging on in a race to mediocrity in the AL Wild Card picture. The Mariners’ rotation remains the key concern for the team even after adding Mike Leake as a reinforcement. The offense is solid, but has taken a step backwards in September, ranking in the middle of the pack per runs scored. Still, the Mariners boast a heart of the order as good as anyone with Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. Mike Zunino has been the nest best player with Mitch Haniger’s numbers boosted by a strong first half and Kyle Seager having a rather pedestrian season. The options in the bullpen are okay. Edwin Diaz is still a top talent, but the consistency is what you expect for a bullpen on a .500 team.
We have a return of Will Middlebrooks to the Majors. The once vaunted Red Sox prospect has bounced around. He’s hit two triples in 10 at bats. He’s getting a bit of playing time with Adrian Beltre back on the DL. The future Hall-of-Famer was the best all-around bat in the lineup. The rest of the Texas batting order is filled with useful, but flawed bats. Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo and Mike Napoli have power and little else. Elvis Andrus and Delino DeShields have speed. Without Beltre, Andrus is the best all-around player on the team. On the mound, the rotation is okay, but the bullpen is an issue beside Alex Claudio.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Monday, September 11, 2017, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Ariel Miranda ( Mariners ) vs. Cole Hamels ( Rangers )
Ariel Miranda is coming off an interesting outing, going six hitless innings against a very potent Houston Astro’s team. The southpaw was difficult to hit. He also struggled finding the strike zone. He walked six. Command has been an issue for the lefty over the last couple months. He’s walked four or more in three of his last five starts. His six-inning start against the Astros was his longest since July. In his previous two starts he combined for just nine innings. He allowed six runs in two of six games in August and gave up five in another.
After the Rangers traded Yu Darvish to the Dodgers, Cole Hamels was the last ace standing, but he hasn’t pitched like one in his last three starts. In that span, he’s totaled 15.1 innings and allowed 14 runs on 20 hits and eight walks, striking out 12. The southpaw has allowed eight runs and 12 hits against the Mariners this year, too. The numbers don’t look great for the Rangers in this matchup.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Marco Gonzales ( Mariners ) vs. Miguel Gonzalez ( Rangers )
This will be Marco Gonzales’s sixth start and seventh outing since he was acquired from St. Louis. The lefty has a 6.20 ERA in 24.2 innings. He’s allowed 36 hits—including four homers—and has struck out only 18. He looked good in his lone relief outing in his last appearance. He went four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits against the A’s on September 2. Can that game serve as a catalyst for the youngster and will the extra time off help him be sharp?
Miguel Gonzalez was an August trade acquisition for the Rangers. His first start for Texas left plenty to be desired. He went three innings, allowing four runs—including a pair of homers—to the Braves. Before the trade, however, he had five straight quality starts and has typically be a model of consistency. He’s not great, but general serviceable as a back-end option. Lefties do hit him well so Cano and Yonder Alonso could be difficult matchups.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Mike Leake ( Mariners ) vs. Martin Perez ( Rangers )
A change of scenery might be all that Mike Leake needed. He was struggling bad prior to his trade form the Cardinals to the great northwest. The trade was universally questioned with Leake delivering only two quality starts in his previous 10 appearances. He was pitching terrible and was leaving the ball up and not getting much movement. Since the trade, he’s thrown back-to-back quality starts, allowing four earned runs in 13 innings, strikeout out 12 and walking only one. He looks like the nearly untouchable pitcher that opened the season in St. Louis with a strong first two months. The Mariners just need one month to help them make it to October.
Martin Perez leads the Rangers in innings pitched. He consistently takes the ball, but that’s about all he does consistently. The 26-year old left-hander has been a projectionable arm for a while, but is now six years in with a 4.42 ERA and .500 record. That is who he is. He’ll give you innings. Lately, they’ve been good innings, too. He was touched up for four runs in 5.2 innings against the Mariners the last time he faced them, but has allowed only seven runs in 25.2 innings in his last four games. He’s still only struck out 16 in that time. He’s not a big strikeout pitcher. He’s only striking out 5.6 per nine innings and has a strikeout to walk ratio under two.
Game 4 Probable Pitchers – Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Felix Hernandez ( Mariners ) vs. Andrew Cashner ( Rangers )
King Felix is expected to come off the DL to make the start on Thursday. Felix Hernandez is only 31, but already in his 13th Major League season and the innings have taken their toll. He’s made only 13 starts this year and has a 4.28 ERA, his highest mark since his age 20 season in 2006. He’s seen his ERA jump in four straight years now. Even in his peak, however, the Rangers have been able to get to him. He’s only 19-23 against them lifetime with a 3.93 ERA. As for the current crop of Rangers, Andrus has 16 RBIs against Hernandez while Carlos Gomes is batting .353. The rest of the group haven’t done well though Napoli, Odor and Gomez all have a couple homers.
Andrew Cashner has been a great signing for the Rangers. The right-hander is just 9-9, but has a 3.19 ERA and 1.261 WHIP. One of few pitchers that still depend on weak contact over the strikeout, Cashner has only 78 strikeouts in 146.2 innings. He’s also walked 52. In the last three games, Cashner has allowed four runs and 13 hits in 21 innings. In three starts against Seattle this year, he’s allowed only five earned runs and 15 hits in 17.1 innings pitched.