Dane Dunning is currently slated to take the mound in Friday’s opener, going up against Mariners rookie Bryce Miller. Logan Gilbert and Bryan Woo are listed as the probable starters for the Mariners on Saturday and Sunday, respectably, but Texas has TBA for both games as of now.
If the Rangers stay with the current order, Cody Bradford would pitch on Saturday, followed by Jordan Montgomery on Sunday. However, with today’s off day, Texas can re-arrange the rotation so that Montgomery could start on Saturday, on regular rest, with Nathan Eovaldi starting on regular rest on Sunday. That would allow both Montgomery and Eovaldi to pitch twice against Seattle over the final ten days, and also line up for the pair to pitch Game One and Game Two of the Wild Card Series, if the Rangers claim a wild card spot, on October 3 and October 4.
With Texas and Seattle currently tied for the third Wild Card spot at 84-68, a half game behind Houston (85-68) in the American League West, and a full game behind Toronto for Wild Card Two, the seven head to head games remaining between Texas and Seattle are especially critical. And yes, the three games in Anaheim next Monday through Wednesday are important, too, but given the leverage that the games with Seattle have in the Wild Card race, stacking the rotation to prioritize those games makes sense.
In regards to the competition’s remaining schedules, Toronto finishes their series in New York with a game against the Yankees this afternoon, then plays three games at Tampa this weekend. The Jays finish up the season with a homestand that has three games against the Yankees and then three more against the Rays. Tampa is currently 2.5 games back of Baltimore in the A.L. East, but has already clinched a playoff spot. Hopefully, Tampa stays close enough in the division race to make the final weekend’s games against Toronto meaningful for them.
Seattle’s three non-Rangers games are at home against Houston at the start of next week. Houston has three games at home this weekend against Kansas City, and then after the Seattle series, finishes up with three games in Arizona, and the D-Backs are currently fighting for a Wild Card spot.
Texas holds the tiebreaker advantage over both Seattle and Toronto, so if they end the regular season with the same record as either team, Texas would advance. Seattle has the tiebreaker over Houston, if the Mariners and Astros end up tied for the division lead or a Wild Card spot, while the Astros have the tiebreaker over Texas. If Toronto and Houston end up tied for a Wild Card spot, Toronto has the tiebreaker over the Astros.
UPDATE — The Rangers have now officially announced Montgomery and Eovaldi for Saturday and Sunday.