In what has been the most entertaining series this week, the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners wrap things up their four-game series on Thursday. The Mariners will be looking to go 3-1 against the Rangers, which would bolster their chase to the postseason. Has the damage already been done, though? The Mariners were flirting with a wildcard, but a poor stretch of games threw them 5 games back. Like I’ve said, baseball changes quickly and if you aren’t paying attention you’re out of the loop in an instance.
One of the reasons football is popular is because it allows everybody to watch, absorb everything, and get ready for the next slate of games. Baseball? Forget about it if you are a really busy person, because the picture will look drastically different in a week times. Ask the Mariners, who are now looking far back at that picture.
While there are so many teams fighting to squeeze into the postseason, the Rangers have been sitting pretty atop the American League West for, well, pretty well the entire season. The Houston Astros have failed to live up to the hype, and the Rangers came along to snatch the division up. Nobody was talking about the Rangers, it was all about their interstate rival, the Houston Astros. So much for that.
If you were to say that Prince Fielder would have been of zero help and retired mid-way through the season, no one would have said the Rangers would be in 1st place. Not just 1st place, the Rangers are 8.5 game ahead of the Astros. Barring one of the biggest comebacks in MLB history, the Rangers will cruise into the postseason. Everybody will be watching the NFL opener tonight between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, but if you need your baseball fix, we have you covered.
Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners
Derek Holland (7-6, 4.57 ERA) vs. Taijuan Walker (4-10, 4.60 ERA)
For how hot Taijuan Walker started with the Mariners, over his first several starts, a 4-10 record is a bit perplexing. It looked like Walker was going to be the breakout pitcher of the year, but he has since regressed, and that was a prediction without an ample sample size to come to a solid conclusion. Walker has been getting bashed around lately, which has led to his 4.60 ERA. In his last five starts, he’s allowed at least 4 runs in four outings. Additionally, he allowed 5, 6, and 5 runs in three games.
His ERA doesn’t look pretty in his last three starts, posting a 7.90. He had a start against the Rangers on June 3rd, which didn’t go well at all, giving up 6 runs and 9 hits in only 5 innings of work. The Rangers will counter with Derek Holland, who worked himself back to injury this season. Staying on the mound has been a win for Holland, although, I’m sure he wishes his numbers were a bit up. Holland has been looking nice lately, with a 2.00 ERA in his last three outings. However, his work on the road leaves a lot to be desired, as he has a 3.32 ERA at home, but a 5.70 on the road. In his last start against the Mariners in Seattle, Holland was hit for 5 runs in five innings. This series has been all about the runs, with an average of 16 runs scored. I see it continue today in Seattle.
PICK: OVER 8.5 RUNS (-115)