Mariners at Rangers: Looking to finish the first half strong
The Mariners are on an incredible run right now, winners of ten straight games. It’s worth noting that this stretch is actually tied for the second-longest win streak in the history of the Mariners, trailing only a 15-game stretch they had back in 2001.
That’s not what I’m here to talk about though. I actually want to preview the four-game set that is coming up in Texas against the Rangers. The Mariners have a chance to finish out the first half better than anyone would’ve expected, and sit right in the middle of the playoff picture.
Seriously, have you taken a look lately? As of the morning of the 14th, the Mariners sit in a three-way tie for the second WC spot!
At 47-42, they are guaranteed to head to the All-Star break with a winning record. I think we can all agree that even with that fact in mind, we still want to see a split, at a minimum, against the Rangers. With the wonderful doubleheader sweep against the Nationals fresh in our memories, let’s take a look at the Mariners @ Rangers series.
Mariners @ Rangers: Pitching Matchups (Pacific Time)
Thursday, July 14th @ 5:05 PM: Marco Gonzales vs Martin Perez
Friday, July 15th @ 5:05 PM: Robbie Ray vs TBD
Saturday, July 16th @ 1:05 PM: Logan Gilbert vs Spencer Howard
Sunday, July 17th @ 11:35 AM: TBD vs Glenn Otto
Lots to be determined in this series. I haven’t seen who the Rangers plan on throwing on Friday, and the Mariners are unsure who they are going to throw on Sunday. That likely stems from Wednesday’s doubleheader, which would put Flexen on four days of rest.
The biggest thing to watch, as it has been over the last month or so, are the Mariners starters. They have been pitching quite well, and are the main reason that the team has been doing so well. The opener might just be the best matchup of the series, with the bulldog going up against the All-Star. Marco has been great lately, with a 2.82 ERA in his last eight starts.
I’m interested to see what kind of game Robbie Ray will put together against his former teammate Marcus Semien and the rest of the Rangers in game two. He’s thrown 39.1 innings over his last starts, with a minuscule 0.91 ERA, along with 46 Ks and just 11 BBs.
Mariners @ Rangers: Hitters to Watch
Mariners: JP Crawford, Jesse Winker, Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh
Rangers: Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Nathaniel Lowe, Jonah Heim
I’m guessing just by reading that last name, plenty of you shuddered and will be upset for a while. If you remember what happened last year, you know why. I’m leaving it at that. Lowe is having a good year, hitting .277/.332/.442 with 12 bombs. Seager leads the Rangers in homers with 21, so the Mariners will need to be wary of leaving anything over the plate against him.
For the Mariners, it’s nice to have them back at full strength. After a combined 12 games worth of suspensions, the Mariners have the trio back finally, as we saw in the second game of the doubleheader. The other hitter I want to watch is Raleigh. Since June 1st, he is hitting .237/.299/.544, with eight HR and nine 2B. He’s actually been one of the most productive catchers in baseball and will play a large part in the offense’s success as we go along.
Mariners @ Rangers: Final Thoughts and Prediction
Going up against the Rangers, there is always a worry about how they are going to do. Part of that is playing a divisional rival, and part of that is me being worried about that from watching Pudge and Juan Gone when I was young. With Seager, Semien, and Heim as three of the seven total Rangers hitters with double-digit homers, there is plenty to be wary of.
That being said, I do feel fairly confident heading into the series. I’m seeing a 3-1 series win, getting the Mariners to 50 wins heading into the All-Star Break. That would put them at 21-4 over their final 25 games heading into the break and sitting as one of the hottest teams in baseball. I’m not going to say the Rangers should worry, but things are looking good for the Mariners right now. As always… Go Mariners!