Seattle Mariners Gameday Preview at Texas
After gaining some redemption for August 27’s 12-4 drubbing at the hands of Texas last night with a 6-run second and 3-run third, the Mariners will look to continue to take advantage of one of Major League Baseball’s worst pitching staffs tonight in the second of four at Globe Life Park.
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Due to a light eight-game Thursday slate that saw Detroit off, Seattle gained only half a game in the Wild Card standings, but the win kept them even in the loss column and now only half a game behind the Tigers for a postseason berth.
Tonight, though, with the Tigers beginning a home series against San Francisco in which Rick Porcello (15-9, 3.10 ERA) will face down-and-out Jake Peavy (4-13, 4.15 ERA), that could all quickly change if the M’s cannot continue to beat up on inferior competition.
Seattle Mariners: 76-63 (W3), 40-27 Road, 5-5 Last 10
Texas Rangers: 53-87 (L6), 24-41 Home, 2-8 Last 10
September 5, 2014: 5:05 PT
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, TX
SEA: Hisashi Iwakuma (13-6, 2.90 ERA)
TEX: Scott Baker (3-3, 5.23 ERA)
Iwakuma has put together 6 QS in his last seven starts, with the only exception coming at Fenway on August 24 (2.1 IP, 5 ER), while posting a career 3.68 ERA in Arlington. Baker, a Mariners Spring Training cut, will only be making his seventh start of 2014 (in addition to 17 relief appearances) with the Rangers. His only two starts since mid-July have been perfectly competent, though, as he gave up a combined 3 runs, all earned, in 11.1 IP.
In every possible comparison, Iwakuma has the edge by a wide margin, especially since Baker will last no more than six innings, making way for a dreadful Texas bullpen (11th in AL bullpen ERA).
Elvis Andrus DH
Ryan Rua 7
Player To Watch: Tomas Telis
Playing in just his eighth game in the majors, Telis will catch Baker over J.P. Arencibia tonight. After mutiliating opposing pitchers at AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock, the 23-year old Venezuelan moves into the third spot in the order. With protection provided to him in the form of Beltre, Telis may be the lynchpin for a lethargic Rangers’ attack (13th in AL in runs scored), as he will likely see some of Iwakuma’s most hittable pitches.
On paper, Seattle should shut down the Rangers offense behind Iwakuma, while putting up at least one multi-run inning to cruise to victory.
However, the M’s have a bad habit of failing to take advantage of mediocre hurlers who in some capacity have been with the club recently (e.g. Hector Noesi twice this season), and a 7-9 record versus the AL’s worst club foreshadows a very regrettable and avoidable defeat.
PREDICTED SCORE: TEXAS 3, SEATTLE 1