Apr 16, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers defeated the Mariners 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Mariners Gameday Preview vs Texas Rangers

Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Initial Thoughts:

The Seattle Mariners have won back-to-back games and are looking to secure their first series win since the opening series in Anaheim with a win today. And who better to take on the task than the King? Happy Felix Day everyone!

It was a hard-fought battle in which the Mariners came from behind twice and then survived Fernando Rodney‘s antics in the 9th to secure the win. The loss for Texas, coupled with a win by the Athletics, dropped the Rangers back into 2nd place in the AL West. The Mariners are sitting in 4th, 5.5 games back of Oakland, 4.5 back of Texas and  2 games back of Los Angeles for 3rd.

Game Details:

Seattle Mariners (9-13)

Texas Rangers (14-9)

Time of game: 6:10 PM Pacific. Location: Seattle, Washington.

 

MATCHUPS:

Pitching:

Mariners: Felix Hernandez (3-1, 2.04 ERA), Rangers: Colby Lewis (1-1, 4.22 ERA)

EDGE: Can I say anything but Felix here? I mean, what kind of fan would I be? But more importantly, what kind of baseball fan would I be if I thought Lewis had the edge here? Lewis allowed four runs in 5.1 IP when he last faced the Mariners. Felix had a no decision in his last start against Texas and hasn’t beat them in the last five tries.

Probable Lineups:

Mariners:

Abraham Almonte 8

Brad Miller 6

Robinson Cano 4

Corey Hart DH

Justin Smoak 3

Kyle Seager 5

Michael Saunders 9

Dustin Ackley 7

John Buck 2

Of note: I’m just speculating that Buck gets the start here tonight. Zunino has been struggling a bit of late (.125 in last 5 games) and we haven’t seen Buck since last Sunday in Miami. Ackley, Miller and Saunders all got the night off as Lloyd McClendon shook things up against the lefty. Against the righty Lewis, I guess he goes back to business as usual.

Rangers:

Michael Choice 7

Elvis Andrus 6

Adrian Beltre 5

Prince Fielder 3

Alex Rios 9

Mitch Moreland DH

J.P. Arencibia 2

Leonys Martin 8

Josh Wilson 4

Of note: The Rangers are without Kevin Kouzmanoff who killed the Mariners in the three games in Arlington. But this team still has plenty of pop in the lineup and Felix will need to be wary of the 3-4-5 hitters who went 5-for-12 in yesterday’s game.

Keys to Mariner Victory:

1) Smoak. His swing has looked better of late. I said it a few days ago before he hit his first homer in 20 days. In his last three games, Smoak is 3-for-10 with a double, a homer and 4 RBI. The Mariners won two of those games.

2) Felix. Even with the day off on Thursday and the callup of Lucas Luetge, this bullpen is still overworked. Felix needs to give them at least seven innings, preferably eight. Then that allows McClendon the option of bringing in anyone but Rodney for the 9th in this one.

3) Defense. The Rangers will hit the ball, Felix has shown that he has trouble historically against the Rangers. The key will be continuing to play solid defense behind him. With the transfer rule being amended, at least we won’t have to worry about petty mistakes like that. The Mariners are 6-7 when they do not commit an error so far this season, 3-6 when they do.

Final Thoughts:

This could be the day that we finally forget about the losing streak and focus on a new winning streak. I was sent this Tweet yesterday:

While it is sad that a 4-year old already realizes such harsh life lessons, it’s not too late to change the thought. Let’s all head to Safeco tonight and watch as the Mariners continue to build momentum so in a few weeks that 4-year old can say “That’s where the Mariners always win!”

Score Prediction:

Mariners 4, Rangers 2.

Tags: Gameday Preview Seattle Mariners

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