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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Texas Rangers - Turn The Page

The Rangers open a brief two-game series against the Seattle Mariners with a chance to climb up the AL West standings as they sit a half game back of Seattle for third place

Hide the women and children
Hide the women and children
Otto Greule Jr

Series Schedule:

Tuesday, May 20 7:05: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma vs. RHP Colby Lewis

Wednesday, May 21 1:05: RHP Chris Young vs. RHP Nick Tepesch

Imagine a world with a baseball team that has only a few memorable seasons to look back fondly on. Those grand years still generally ended in either heartbreak or irrelevancy for this baseball team. Where once this team was a nomadic franchise looking for a fresh start, roots took hold with a special run in the 1990s. This team was littered with sluggers back then. Home runs came so easily. Pitchers quavered at the thought of facing this team's one-through-nine. But for the pitching went thee.

Eventually this team moved into a more permanent home. And sure, in the new century this team would have a season or two that really put them on the map. Each triumph ended bitterly, of course. Then, before you even knew it, as if by a shift in the breeze, those home runs this team hit at a record pace became a rare sight. Runs were suddenly at a premium even as this team sent new-found aces to the mound.

In a division that looks more and more like an arms race with the TV contract signed, this team must spend to keep up. This team is the Seattle Mariners. This team is the Texas Rangers.

Nothing is more depressing that realizing the team you root for is basically the Seattle Mariners.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against Seattle's fourth favorite team behind futbol, football, and VHS tapes of the Seattle SuperSonics:

  • Colby Lewis: 3-2, 8.51 K/9, 2.05 BB/9, .414 BABIP, 76.9% LOB, 3.89 FIP, 3.81 xFIP, 0.6 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 15.0 innings
  • Hisashi Iwakuma: 2-0, 5.96 K/9, 0.40 BB/9, .206 BABIP, 80.9% LOB, 2.46 FIP, 2.81 xFIP, 0.7 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 22.2 innings

Thoughts: Hisashi Iwakuma has come back from injury that cost him all of April not missing a beat from a season ago. You could make a convincing argument that Iwakuma was the best pitcher in the American League last year. That sounds pretty remarkable considering he's on a team that has Felix Hernandez in the rotation and you could make a convincing argument that Hernandez had his best season in the majors last year. In three starts this season, he's been just a great. So that's what the Rangers face tonight as they try to get their season back on track -- a pitcher better over the last 12 months than Felix Hernandez at his best.

Colby was given a few extra days rest so he should be fresh to face a team he's historically pitched very well against. This will also be the first opponent that Colby has faced for a second time so far this season so it'll be interesting to see how he fares with the Mariners getting another look at Colby 3.0. Luckily for Colby, he gets to pitcher in a pitchers' park now.

  • Nick Tepesch: 0-0, 13.50 K/9, 5.06 BB/9, .200 BABIP, 80.0% LOB, 1.76 FIP, 2.50 xFIP, 0.2 WAR - Only start of 2014: 1 run allowed in 5.1 innings
  • Chris Young: 3-1, 3.63 K/9, 3.43 BB/9, .199 BABIP, 79.8% LOB, 5.15 FIP, 5.82 xFIP, 0.1 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 21.0 innings

Thoughts: Nick Tepesch was pretty good -- if a little inefficient -- in his debut start against the Astros last week. Now he has to show he can pitch against teams that are not the Astros. I bet he secretly wishes he could pitch against the Rangers.

A member of JD's worst trade comes for a visit tomorrow. When the Rangers made the trade for Adam Eaton, at the time, the player folks perhaps most immediately bemoaned losing to the Padres was Chris Young. Young, after all, was a local kid and had just come off a very successful rookie season as a pitcher pitching in Arlington during the days when that was a scary thing for pitchers.

There was also the fact that Eaton wasn't even someone who seemed like a slam dunk improvement over Young. For the right to find out the hard way that Eaton wasn't, the Rangers also gave up Adrian Gonzalez. Over time, that's obviously become the most damning aspect of the trade. Chris Young is Chris Young and in 2014 Chris Young isn't a very good pitcher but at least Chris Young can say that he was always better than Adam Eaton.


Seattle Mariners (21-22, 3rd Place in AL West)

Rangers' Record vs. Seattle: 4-3 (3-1 at The Ballpark)

Seattle's Recent Results: 1-2 road series loss to the Minnesota Twins

Seattle's Road Record: 13-12

Ballpark in Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 105/94 - Runs: 112/109

SB Nation Mariners Blog: Lookout Landing

Match-up: (as of 05/20) Rangers Mariners Advantage
Batting (RAR) -21.0 (22nd) -29.0 (25th) A shameful display
Base Running (RAR) 2.2 (4th) -0.3 (19th) I bet Smoak could get thrown out at first on a ball hit to the outfield
Starters (RAR) 7.4 6.5 Make no mistake, Iwakuma is the best pitcher in this series
Bullpen (RAR)

13.3 (8th)

9.1 (13th) It's all fun and games until one of Fernando Rodney's arrows hits a kid in the stands
Defense (UZR) -7.5 (22nd) 8.0 (9th) Hopefully baseball's best SS will hand the Rangers another game
Overall (UZR + RAR) -5.6 -5.7

They aren't a good team, but they're our team

Questions to Answer:

  • Who will end up with more home runs in 2014: Prince Fielder (3) or Robinson Cano (1)?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I'm looking forward to seeing what Big Dick Nick Tepesch can do in his second start of the season tomorrow.)
  • Over/Under: 7.5 Home runs hit by Kyle Seager over this two-game series? (I went with the conservative O/U number on this one.)
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Colby Lewis tonight as he looks to build on his best outing of the season last time out?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers take two from Seattle and reclaim third place in the AL West?