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Series Preview: Seattle Mariners @ Texas Rangers - Isthmus

Showdown between the two leaders of the AL West. One of them is the Mariners, though.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Since the Mariners and Rangers opened the 2016 season at The Ballpark back in April, each team has played 53 games and each team has won 31 of them. That means the Rangers and Mariners are tied for first place in the American League West.

The Mariners won that debut series thanks in part to a barrage of home runs and some questionable pitching out of the Rangers bullpen. Since then, spanning eight series over the last two months, the Rangers have not lost another series at home.

Despite that nice little factoid, the narratives from that first series against the Mariners continue into June. The Rangers still have their bullpen issues and the Mariners are still swatting a ton of dingers. Because of this, we find the Rangers deadlocked with Seattle as we enter the summer months.

While things have gone well at home in terms of winning more than losing, the Rangers have now seen the home team celebrate a walk-off victory in every road series this season except for the two series the Rangers swept in Detroit and Houston. Texas is 1-5 in extra innings games. Seattle is 5-1 in those same drawn out contests.

On one hand, the Mariners are far too Mariners-y to take seriously. On the other hand, Kyle Seager. And Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano and now Leonys Martin and folk hero in the making Dae-Ho Lee and why is Seth Smith good now?

Series Schedule:

Friday, June 3 7:05 pm: RHP Taijuan Walker vs RHP Yu Darvish

Saturday, June 4 8:05 pm: RHP Nathan Karns vs LHP Martin Perez

Sunday, June 5 2:05 pm: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma vs LHP Derek Holland

Seattle Strengths:

Dingers! With apologies to the late Prince, the Mariners are partying like it's 1999 again as they're slugging the heck out of the ball in ways unseen since their Kingdome days when Griffey, Edgar, and Buhner were terrorizing the Rangers.

The Mariners have hit 80 home runs this season which is the most in baseball. That is 58 more home runs than the Atlanta Braves but also 24 more than the Rangers. The Mariners play baseball at Safeco Field where the haunted spirits of failed Mariners envelope the stadium and drape fly balls in trajectory-reducing melancholy while the Rangers play baseball at The Ballpark where the hair dryer of a preening god peppers baseballs at so much Nolan Ryan beef.

Baseball was invented to confuse you.

Seattle Weaknesses:

They're the Mariners. I mean, they have to try to not screw up for like 100 more games.

Go Rangers!

Seattle Mariners (31-22, t-1st Place in AL West)

Rangers' Record vs. Mariners: 3-3 (1-2 at The Ballpark)

Seattle's Recent Results: 3-1 split home and road series win over the San Diego Padres

Seattle's 2016 Road Record: 19-8

The Ballpark Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 103/101 - Runs: 115/110

SB Nation Mariners Blog: Lookout Landing

Match-up: (as of 06/03) Rangers Mariners Advantage
Batting (RAR) -20.5 (20th) 39.6 (2nd) Mariners
Base Running (RAR) 2.4 (7th) -0.2 (15th) Rangers
Starters (RAR) 14.8 20.2 Mariners
Bullpen (RAR) -15.2 (29th) 20.7 (5th) Mariners
Defense (UZR) 21.0 (2nd) -6.7 (23rd) Rangers!
Overall (UZR + RAR) 2.5 73.6 : (

Questions to Answer:

  • Yay or Nay: The Mariners are within five games of first place in the American League West on September 1st?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Perhaps Mitch Moreland will heat up against a trio of right-handed starters.)
  • Over/Under: 4.5 home runs by the trio of Seager/Cano/Cruz in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Yu Darvish in tonight's series opener?
  • Do the Rangers take their ninth consecutive series win at home and end the weekend alone in first place in the West?