Mariners v. Rangers series preview: 3 keys to a series win

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 30: Nelson Cruz
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 30: Nelson Cruz /

It’s time to buckle up, Mariners fans, because we’ve reached the point in the season where, with just 56 games left, every game means a little more. The Mariners travel to Texas for 3 meaningful games, and they could pick up some ground in the wild card race if these three things happen.

The bats need to show up

The Mariners are 11th in the league in both runs and batting average, and they have the potential to night in and night out put up solid numbers in the run column. On top of that, Ben Gamel and Kyle Seager are all playing very solid ball right now.

Seager had slumped badly the first half of the season, but since the All-Star break, he has hit .333 with an OPS of 1.078. Gamel is on a hitting streak as long as the number he wears, his 16 games is the longest active in the MLB. Jean Segura has also been great in 2017, but a post-all-star-break slump dropped his batting average from .350 to .322, yet, he has a hit in five straight games, and he’s not going to stay down for long.

Pitching meltdowns need to be avoided

The Mariners pitching hasn’t been horrible in 2017, but their Achilles heel has been big innings where they give up a flurry of runs and the game gets blown open. The latest installment of the Seattle pitching roller coaster came on Friday against the Mets when a three-run inning, surrendered by the bullpen, doomed a winning effort from the bats.

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If the pitching can just be decent and start to nip rallies in the bud before they really get rolling, this M’s team will win a lot more games.

Yu Darvish needs to get traded

Currently, Darvish is sitting on the trade block, and the only things stopping the Rangers from dealing him is a lack of qualified (in their opinion) suitors. Darvish has been a stellar pitcher since coming to the MLB from Japan in 2012. He has a career ERA of 3.42, and aside from two poor July starts, has been great again in 2017.

At the moment, Darvish is slated to make a start against the Mariners on Tuesday, but if he isn’t a Ranger on Tuesday, that start obviously won’t happen. Seattle has seen success against Darvish this season, as he has posted a 4.50 ERA against the Mariners, but it never hurts to not have to face a pitcher of Darvish’s caliber.

Next: Mariners v. Mets 3 Up, 3 Down: Series win huge

All in all, this series could be big for the M’s in terms of setting themselves up well for a huge clash with the Kansas City Royals this weekend. If these three things happen the way the Mariners hope they will, things will be looking good on Thursday.