Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers: Series No. 6 Preview

The Mariners kick off a short, six game road trip today, taking on the Texas Rangers. After dropping the three game series against the Tigers, two games to one, the Mariners head into Texas with a 7-10 record and are in third place in the division behind Oakland and Texas.

The starting pitchers for tonight’s game will be Joe Saunders and Yu Darvish. The Mariners have faced top-notch starting pitchers for the last few days now and that trend continues tonight against Darvish. This will be Darvish’s second start in a row in which he has faced the Mariners. He went three innings last time, giving up three runs on three base hits and one walk, while striking out eight. Saunders’ last start was against the Rangers and the lefty had a nice outing, going seven innings and allowing 1R (0ER), three hits, and two walks. Eight of his outs came on fly balls though so he’ll have to make sure he doesn’t get caught leaving the ball up in the zone against that lineup in that ballpark.

The pitching matchup for Saturday’s game is scheduled to be Nick Tepesch and Brandon Maurer, and the matchup for Sunday’s game is scheduled to be Justin Grimm and Aaron Harang. Grimm and Tepesch, both rookies, have just a handful starts between the two of them this year at the big league level. The Mariners two top starting pitchers, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma will not be pitching this series, which is not the best news as the M’s take on one of the better offensive teams in baseball.

The Mariners’ offense was pretty banged up last series with Michael Saunders on the disabled list and Michael Morse and Franklin Gutierrez listed as day to day. Saunders remains on the DL but Morse and Gutierrez appear to be healed up and are ready to go for the series. Over the last week, Kyle Seager has been the hottest hitter on the team hitting .333/.364/.571 in 22 plate appearances. He has an ISO of .238 in that span with five doubles. Endy Chavez has also done a good job filling in over the last few days hitting .313/.353/.313 and making a spectacular diving catch in the bottom of the ninth inning in yesterday’s game.

If the Mariners can take two games from Texas here, they will be tied with the Rangers for second place in the division.

The schedule for the series is as follows:

Game 1: Friday, April 19, 5:05 PM PST

Joe Saunders vs. Yu Darvish

Game 2: Saturday, April 20, 5:05 PM PST

Brandon Maurer vs. Nick Tepsech

Game 3: Sunday, April 21, 12:05 PM PST

Aaron Harang vs. Justin Grimm