Mariners vs Rangers: An early chance to control the division is at play in Texas

The Mariners head to Texas with a shot at taking control of the division, as whoever wins the series will hold the AL West lead
Seattle Mariners v Colorado Rockies - Game Two
Seattle Mariners v Colorado Rockies - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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Mariners vs Rangers: Pitching matchups

Tuesday, April 23rd @ 5:05 PM - Logan Gilbert vs Dane Dunning
Wednesday, April 24th @5:05 PM - Bryce Miller vs Jon Gray
Thursday, April 25th @ 11:35 AM - Luis Castillo vs Andrew Heaney

After three straight outings in which he gave up three earned runs, Dunning is coming off of his best performance of the season when he limited the Tigers to just one earned run. He's had a bit of a walk problem so far, with 13 free passes in 23 innings. Not just that, he has already given up five homers. Big potential here for the Mariners to work counts and wait for that high fastball mistake from Dunning. There is a real opportunity here to score four runs off Dunning in 5 innings, and force the bullpen in to action early.

It's a wierd situation with Jon Gray. He didn't make it out of the fourth inning in the first two starts of the season, and then he turned it around and looked much better, even if it was against the Tigers and Athletics. However, it's his most recent appearance that stands out. Yes, appearance. He entered in relief last time out against the Braves. Could we see an early hook here? It seems possible.

In the series finale, the Mariners will see Andrew Heaney. He made it through the fifth inning for the first time all season in his last outing, and has struggled to limit baserunners all season. The battle to watch will be to see how the Rangers pitchers try and attack the zone, and if the Mariners can take advantage. If the Rangers are too cautious, they could have to call on their bullpen early and often in the series with how Gray and Heaney have pitched lately, and the Rangers and their bullpen that is ranked 23rd in ERA could be in trouble.