When a team is hot, they are hot! The Boston Red Sox had already made a major statement by beating their rivals, the New York Yankees, in all three games of the series leading up to last night’s Sunday Night Baseball Game of the Week series finale. And then what happened last night may have just put the Yankees away for good this year. New York led all evening long, and it looked like they would save a little face in this series and steal one game at least.
Then disaster struck. The Yankees sent in their all-world closer Aroldis Chapman to slam the door shut in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 4-1 game. Chapman struggled from the outset and got pounded for three runs that tied the game up and sent it into extra innings. In the extra frames, the Red Sox took advantage of the comeback and finished it off in the tenth on an Andrew Benintendi walk-off RBI single, and we won our bet.
With the sweep, the Red Sox now hold a nine and a half game lead over New York for first place in the American League East Division. That is the biggest division lead in baseball. The Yankees tried to reload at the trade deadline, but it looks like it won’t be enough as at this point they are completely out of the division race.
They are still favored to win one of the two wild cards spots in the AL, but with the Oakland A’s forgetting how to lose all the sudden, that could end up being a road game for New York. And with the Seattle Mariners still hanging around just a couple of games back, New York could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. Oh, how the mighty have fallen in New York. For today’s pick, I will take a look at those contending Seattle Mariners as they head to Texas for game one of a series with the Rangers.
The Seattle Mariners head out today on a ten-game road trip that could very well decide their season. With stops against division rivals Texas, Oakland, and Houston, this road trip could not be more important for Seattle’s playoff aspirations. The Rangers are out of contention this season, but that hasn’t stopped them from being one of the more explosive and high scoring teams in the league this year.
Starting tonight for the Mariners is Wade LeBlanc (6-2 3.95 ERA), and for the Rangers, it is Martin Perez (2-4 6.50 ERA). The Mariners are small -117 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eleven runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM PST from Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
The Seattle Mariners can ill afford any slip-ups in this series. They need to handle business and win at least two of the three games of this series. The rest of the month is brutal as the Mariners have series upcoming against the A’s, Astros, Dodgers, Astros again, DBacks, and Oakland again before the month ends. All of those teams are playing well and if the season ended today, would make the playoffs in their respective leagues. Things are going to get tough for Seattle, and they need to take advantage of this soft matchup tonight.
Starting tonight for the Mariners is Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc has been a solid addition to the rotation this season for Seattle as he has pitched well, and the team seems to win a lot with him on the mound. The Mariners have won ten out of his last fifteen starts, and his sub-four ERA is more than respectable in the AL.
LeBlanc got hit hard in his last start against the Houston Astros, but before that, he was on a solid little roll. In July, Leblanc was 3-1 with a 3.84 ERA in five starts. LeBlanc has faced Texas one time this season, and he pitched well. Against the Rangers, on May 31st LeBlanc pitched five innings of one-run ball, and the Mariners won the game with Wade picking up the win for his efforts.
Martin Perez had a rough start to the season. Through his first five starts, his ERA was nearly ten runs. Then he got hurt and missed two and a half months. Since his return, Perez has pitched mostly decent. He got smashed for six runs against the Cleveland Indians, but in his other three starts, he has allowed just one earned run in each start. The problem for Perez has been despite the fact that he has pitched fairly well, the Rangers seem to keep losing anyway. The Rangers are 3-6 this season when Perez starts, 1-3 since his return from the DL.
The Mariners are a solid team. They are coming off a bad series against the Toronto Blue Jays that saw them lose three out of four games, but they are still very much a part of the playoff conversation in the AL. The Rangers? They were bad well before they just traded away half of their pitching staff at the trade deadline.
The Rangers can hit the ball, but they just don’t have any talent left on the mound, and I see that as their downfall tonight. I think LeBlanc will be decent, and I expect the Mariners to score a bunch against this depleted Rangers pitching staff. This could end up in a slugfest, but I just see the Mariners as the much better overall team and was a bit surprised to see them valued so low. So, I will lay just a little bit of wood tonight and back the far superior team. Give me the Seattle Mariners as small road favorites at -117 tonight in game one from Arlington!