Well. We've gotten to the end of the season, and the Mariners aren't really where they wanted to be, and I don't think fans were hoping they would be here either. Especially with how things were looking about a month ago when the Mariners had actually taken the lead in the AL West. Now though, the Rangers are here to finish out the season with a four-games series in Seattle.
There is a lot to look out for, and still a small chance that the Mariners could even win the AL West, even though a very specific scenario will still need to fall into place. We covered that earlier, so if you are curious as to how it could happen, make sure to go check it out. It all starts today though, and the Mariners need to take care of business against Texas in order to do so. Let's get to the final regular season preview of the 2023 season, and look at the Mariners matchup against the Rangers.
Mariners vs Rangers: Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Logan Gilbert vs Jordan Montgomery
Game 2: Bryan Woo vs Nathan Eovaldi
Game 3: Luis Castillo vs TBD
Game 4: George Kirby vs Jon Gray
Walter takes the mound for the first game for the Mariners, and they are going to need a lot of innings from him. I'm not saying that we need to see 8 (although that would be awesome), but we need at least 6. Miller left early in the Houston finale, and we are unlikely to see a deep nights work from Bryan Woo tomorrow. That's going to be taxing on the pen, and it would be good if Gilbert could give them a bit of a breather.
Montgomery dominated the Mariners in his last outing, going seven strong and giving up just five hits and walking two with no runs across the plate. If he does that, it's essentially season over for the Mariners. In Game 2, however, the Mariners will see Eovaldi, who they lit up for five runs in five innings in his last outing. That made up for his outing against the M's earlier this year, when he gave up just one hit in six innings of work.
We don't know who they are throwing in game 3, but we will need a much better night from Castillo than we saw last time. Lastly, it's gonna be Kirby vs Gray in the finale. Gray has dominated the Mariners this season, giving up just six hits, one walk, one run, and striking out 13 across 14 innings of work in two outings.
Mariners vs Rangers: Hitters to Watch
At this point in the season, you sort of know what you are getting. The Mariners need Julio to show back up and finish strong, as the Houston series was one in which he really struggled. Maybe the whole Hector Neris thing will light a fire under Julio, and we can see a 7-16 finish from him this week.
The Rangers though, man do they have a lot of big bats. Adolis Garcia is pushing for 40 homers, Seager is having an incredible season, I despise Jonah Heim for what he did to us last year, and you still have Semien who is playing great this year. Almost like dropping a ton of money to improve your lineup makes a difference. Huh... who would've thought?
If Ty France can't come through in this series, and struggles again like he has over the last ~40 games, I might leave his island. We need the .300 BA France, not the one who can only hit singles and swings at everything he sees trying to hit it out of the park.
Mariners vs Rangers: Final Thoughts
This is it. You can argue that the Mariners have four straight game 7's coming up, and I don't think there is much of a stance that anyone could take to oppose you there. The Mariners need to start off with a win, because you can't count on Toronto and Houston to lose out and let you in with a 2-2 finish against the Rangers. The time is now, Mariners, and the biggest test of the season is here. We are either going to see the 2022 team that doesn't give up, or be reminded of the mid 2000's, when it was constant disapointment to high expectations. Come on Mariners... you can do this!