This should have been a very important time of the year for the Seattle Mariners. Certainly, if we go back to the first-half of the season, then yeah, the end of September is going to make or break their year. Those plans evaporated pretty quickly, as the Athletics flew right by them and grab the final wildcard. They went past them and then lapped the Mariners. The Athletics have been there ever since, as they continue to have a firm grasp on a wildcard.
The best-case scenario right now for the Athletics is catching up to the Yankees. If they can do that, they’ll be hosting the Wild Card Game in Oakland. The Yankees have already clinched, so either way, they are going to the postseason. There is still going to be a battle for homefield, though. The Yankees have to get their pitching in order if they want to go anywhere. It isn’t a good sign that they have to think about who should start in the play-in game.
Mariners’ fans have heard the same story year after year and it’s the same result. They were fooled again this season, as their team opened the season playing well. Even without Robinson Cano, the Mariners were playing great baseball. In fact, they were a better team when Cano was injured. If you remember, the Mariners were wondering what they were going to do with him when he returned, because they were playing so well. It’s just moral victories at this point, which the Mariners accomplished yesterday in a big way. They dispatched the Texas Rangers by a score of 13-0. It’s been a long year for the Rangers, which they’ll be happy to say goodbye to next week. Head below for our free Mariners vs. Rangers pick.
Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers Pick
Wade LeBlanc (8-4, 3.49 ERA) vs. Martin Perez (2-6, 6.33 ERA)
The loss yesterday was the fifth in their last six games for the Rangers. They fell to 65-89, as they count down on their calendars to the end of the season. The win came on Friday night, an 8-3 performance for what was a rare easy night for the Rangers. Erasmo Ramirez got hammered and lasted just 2.2 innings for the Mariners. Everything was working for them on Saturday, though. Martin Perez is a member of the worst rotation in baseball. Perez hasn’t helped the cause, as he goes into Sunday with a poor ERA of 6.33, 1.78 WHIP, and .389 OBA.
The Rangers moved him to the bullpen where they hope he’d find a rhythm. In his previous three starts, he’s posted an ERA of 9.56 and 1.75 WHIP. The Mariners have a lot of experience against him and have made good on their 239 at-bats. They’re hitting .305 with a .352 OBP and 12 long balls. Kyle Seager has had a party against him, with 4 home runs and a .389 OBP in 50 at-bats. Additionally, Heredia is hitting .429 in 21 at-bats, Zunino .429 in 14 at-bats, Haniger .368 in 19 at-bats, and Nelson Cruz is hitting .321 in 28 at-bats. Perez has been a launching pad for the Mariners.
LeBlanc has looked sharp recent, with a 1.65 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in his last three outings. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in six starts and allowed 2 or less runs in seven of his last eight. His ERA has been strong at 2.56 in his previous seven tilts. If that isn’t enough, the Rangers’ lineup is hitting just .178 against LeBlanc in 45 at-bats. With all of that considered, the Mariners look like an attractive option Sunday afternoon.