Seattle Mariners (72-73 SU, 64-81 RL, 69-71-5 O/U) vs. Texas Rangers (72-72 SU, 80-64 RL, 67-71-6 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 8:05 p.m. EST
The Line: Texas Rangers -110/Seattle Mariners +100. Total: 10.
The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners will wrap up a four-game series when they square off at Globe Life Park in Texas on Thursday night. Seattle halted a two-game skid by dominating the middle contest of the set on Tuesday. The Rangers dropped back to .500 with their recent setback.
King Felix returns
Seattle posted a 10-3 rout of Texas on Tuesday to win for the third time in its last eight outings and remain 3.5 games behind Minnesota for the American League’s second wild-card spot. Kyle Seager delivered a three-run homer–his second of the series and 22nd all-time against the Rangers. Right fielder Mitch Haniger is 5-for-9 with a home run in the series and a scorching 24-for-50 with four homers and 11 RBIs over his last 12 contests. Designated hitter Nelson Cruz has recorded just one extra-base hit (a homer) this month and has gone deep only once in his last 20 games.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez is being activated from the disabled list and will make his first start since July 31 when he takes the mound for Seattle on Thursday. Hernandez, who has been out with shoulder bursitis, is 5-4 with a 4.28 ERA through 13 starts this season.
Cashner cashing in
The Rangers were hoping to move back above .500 in advance of Wednesday’s contest, while also looking to trim their three-game deficit for the AL’s second wild card. Willie Calhoun, Texas’ prized prospect who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the package for Yu Darvish, made his major-league debut on Tuesday and went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. Texas activated third baseman Adrian Beltre (hamstring) from the 10-day disabled list even though he still is unable to play. Right-handed pitcher Tyson Ross was released to make room.
Andrew Cashner will oppose Hernandez on Thursday. The right-hander is 9-9 with a stellar 3.19 ERA in 2017. He has turned in three straight quality starts and he is really not far away from having made 11 consecutive quality starts since the beginning of July. His only aberrations were four runs allowed (one too many) in six innings on Aug. 23 against the Angels and 5.2 innings of work (one-third too few) while giving up just two runs on Aug. 18 against the White Sox.
The Seattle Mariners are:
- 1-6 in their last seven road games
- 1-6 in their last seven road games against teams with winning home records
- 1-5 in their last six road games against right-handed starters
The Texas Rangers are:
- 9-4 in their last 13 Thursday games
- 5-2 in Cashner’s last seven starts against teams with losing records
- 10-4 in their last 14 home games against Seattle
Hernandez is expected to be working on a 50-pitch limit in this one. He also has the tough test of going up against a Texas club that sports the fifth-best team OPS in the league since the all-star break. The Mariners are 1-6 in their last seven on the road, 1-6 in their last seven on the road against opponents with winning home records, and 1-5 in their last six on the road against right-handed starters. Texas is 9-4 in its last 13 on Thursdays, 5-2 in Cashner’s last seven starts against losing opponents, 7-3 in Cashner’s last 10 starts on four days of rest, and 10-4 in their last 14 at home against Seattle. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.