It’s the last week of August, which means football season will be here in a minute, and the race for the MLB postseason intensifies. The Mariners and Rangers are in that company, especially the Mariners who are trying feverishly to find a way to a wildcard position. They have been creeping their way up, but they are competing with some really good teams that are striving to make it as well. When the Mariners signed Robinson Cano a couple years back, the expectations were postseason or bust. If they go through his time in Seattle without even one postseason win, it will be viewed as a big failure. The Mariners thought they were on to something when they signed Austin Jackson as well, but he didn’t work out and now he’s with the White Sox. Jackson hasn’t been able to recapture his time with the Tigers, where he was a major contributor and fan favorite.
The Mariners are three back of the Wild Card game at the moment. In other words, they need to kick it up a notch through the last few weeks of the season. They are competing against a few other quality teams, so it’s not going to be easy to overcome the road they have in front of them. Three games is within reach though, so don’t discount them just yet. However, the Mariners have lost six of their last seven games, ouch. When you’re in a race for the postseason like this that isn’t going to help any. If they didn’t go through this poor spurt, they’d probably find themselves in a nice position ahead of the curve. There is some work to do, which won’t get any easier against the Texas Rangers on the road.
Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers
Hisashi Iwakuma (14-9 3.81 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (4-3, 2.91 ERA)
Darvish being a good pitcher isn’t the issue, he could be one of the best and recognizable in baseball. The problem is that the guy cannot stay healthy to save his life. Darvish has been contending with injuries his entire career, and who knows what next year is going to have in store with him on the injury front. But when he is actually healthy, he is one of the better pitchers in baseball. He has been really consistent, posting a 2.91 ERA on the season, fluctuating between 2 and 3 runs allowed, with 1 thrown in there. He’s never deviated too far from his average. Darvish enters with a 3.20 ERA in his last three games, including a 1.22 WHIP and .306 OBA. What you see is what you get with Darvish, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Iwakuma will try and slow the Rangers down tonight, a guy who has etched out a pretty solid career in a Mariners’ uniform. He’s never had a season with an ERA above 4.00 and has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the majors. Iwakuma posted a 3.52 ERA in 2014 and a 3.54 in 2015. He’s now on pace for a 3.81 ERA, which is a bit of a decline, but he’s been showing his better work on the season lately. In his last five starts he’s allowed 0, 0, 3, 2, and 4 runs. The only game he was slammed in his last ten starts was against the Cubs, which is understandable against their offense on the road. The Mariners are catching a pretty big number in this one as an underdog. I don’t think the Rangers should be a -170 favorite in this game. Maybe somewhere between -140 to -140, but that high. As a result, I think there is some value to be had on the Mariners tonight.
PICK: MARINERS TO WIN +155