From today until October 1st, the Mariners and Rangers will play seven times, and the result of those games will determine a lot about the American League playoff picture. The first series between the teams will be played in Texas, and we’ll preview the opening game of that series before going over my play on the total.
With their 15-5 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday, the Rangers secured the series and brought their record to 84-68. Texas dropped the opening game of their series with Boston, which gave them four straight losses, but they impressively did not let that spiral into more and went on to win two straight. In their blowout win, rookie Josh Jung went 3-5 and hit his first home run since returning from the injured list.
Both Jung and Adolis Garcia were able to play in the Red Sox series, which gives the Rangers a huge boost to their already potent lineup. With those two sluggers back and two straight wins under the belt, the Rangers will come into tonight’s series with Dane Dunning on the mound. The right-hander is coming off an outing in which he spun five scoreless innings with five strikeouts, which was the first time in five starts in which he did not allow at least three earned runs.
Dunning last faced the Mariners on May 5th, and he allowed two earned runs in six innings on the way to a win. While that was a good outing, Seattle’s lineup is in a much different place than they were in May. The Mariners enter tonight off a sweep over the A’s, culminating Wednesday with a 6-3 victory that gave them the same 84-68 record the Rangers have.
In that win, the Mariners' offense would get big home runs by Julio Rodriguez and Cal Raleigh. Right-hander Bryce Miller will be opening this weekend's series on the mound for Seattle. The last time he was on the mound, Miller took a no-decision after holding the Dodgers scoreless for 5.1 innings, which lowered his ERA to 3.88 in 123 innings of work.
The total for this game is currently set at 9, and I’ll be taking the over for my play. When the Rangers play at home this season, the over is 45-27-6, and when listed as an underdog, the over is 27-19-2 in Mariners games. Outside of trends, these teams are coming off rest days and heading into the most crucial series of their season.
Rangers starter Dane Dunning enters tonight in the 37th percentile in hard hit percentage, 33rd percentile in xERA, and 24th percentile in expected batting average. When Dunning is done, he’ll hand the ball to a Rangers bullpen with the highest FIP in the league over the past month. The bullpen and Dunning will face a Mariners lineup that is 11th in hard hit percentage and 10th in OPS and wRC+ against right-handed pitching on the road over the past month.
The Rangers lineup has even better numbers for tonight’s matchup, as they rank 4th in OPS, 3rd in wRC+, and 1st in hard hit percentage against right-handed pitching at home over the last month. That production level will be tough for Bryce Miller to slow down since he is in the 37th percentile in hard hit percentage, 29th percentile in xERA, and 20th percentile in xBA.
Over 9 (-105)