clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Series Preview: Mariners (3-6) vs. Rangers (4-6)

New, comments

The Mariners return home to face the Rangers in a three-game, weekend series.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

At a Glance:

Date

First Pitch

Away Team

Probable Pitcher

Home Team

Probable Pitcher

Friday, April 17

7:10 pm

Rangers

RHP Yovani Gallardo

Mariners

LHP J.A. Happ

Saturday, April 18

6:10 pm

Rangers

RHP Colby Lewis

Mariners

RHP Felix Hernandez

Sunday, April 19

1:10 pm

Rangers

LHP Ross Detwiler

Mariners

LHP James Paxton

Mariners (2014)

Rangers (2014)

Edge

Batting (wRC+)

94 (12th in AL)

89 (15th in AL)

Mariners

Fielding (FanGraphs Defense)

-11.7 (7th)

-26.7 (10th)

Mariners

Starting Pitching (FIP-)

102 (9th)

115 (15th)

Mariners

Bullpen (FIP-)

87 (1st)

99 (10th)

Mariners

The Mariners are back in the friendly confines of Safeco Field, starting a nine-game homestand with a weekend series against the Rangers. After an injury scare on Sunday, Felix Hernandez is scheduled to make his regular turn in the rotation on Saturday, on his bobblehead night no less!

The Rangers famously suffered through a historical number of injuries last season—they set a new record for days lost to the disabled list. They stood pat during the offseason, making a few acquisitions but mostly counting on reinforcements arriving through healed injuries. Unfortunately, the bad got worse and the Rangers lost Yu Darvish to Tommy John surgery early in Spring Training. During their home opener, Derek Holland strained his shoulder, forcing him to miss more than half the season. The Rangers just can’t catch a break.

The Rangers:

To give you an idea of how bad things have gotten in Texas, the team leader in WAR after 10 games is Carlos Peguero and he’s only played in half of their games. Of course, they do still have a number of players who should provide a decent amount of production but there are too many holes on the roster to fill. They split their opening series against the A’s and then lost their subsequent series against the Astros and the Angels.

Key Players

3B Adrian Beltre Adrian Beltre has seemingly found a way to defy father time. His average wRC+ since leaving the Mariners in 2009 is 138.6 and those were his age 31-35 seasons. Sure, his power has declined a bit but he’s adjusted his batted ball profile and plate approach to maintain his production level. He’s walking more often and he’s hitting more line drives than ever before while avoiding fly balls and infield popouts. Despite hitting just 19 home runs last year, his wRC+ was 141, which perfectly aligns with his norms over the last five years.

1B Prince Fielder The range of outcomes for Prince Fielder is so wide after undergoing cervical-fusion surgery on his neck. There’s just no way to know how durable he’ll be or if he’ll return to anywhere near his previous level of production. He’s been able to accumulate sixteen hits in the Rangers’ first ten games but only two of them have been for extra bases. If he is able to stay healthy, he makes this team much better and should provide some thump in the middle of the order.

RF Shin-Soo Choo Shin-Soo Choo suffered through the worst season of his career last year. Much of that was due to the variety of injuries he suffered through. Because so many of his teammates were lost to injury, Choo played through elbow and ankle injuries for most of the season before being shut down in September. He should be fully recovered this year and will look to rebound from his rough season last year. When healthy, he’s able to run a 100 point split between his batting average and his on base percentage while also providing a little bit of power.

Probable Pitchers

RHP Yovani Gallardo (2014 Stats)

IP

K%

BB%

HR/FB%

GB%

ERA

FIP

192 1/3

17.9%

6.6%

12.1%

50.8%

3.51

3.94

Pitches

Four-seam

Sinker

Changeup

Slider

Curveball

92.3 mph;

37.3%

92.4 mph;

18.1%

86.5 mph;

0.7%

88.2 mph;

24.6%

80.0 mph;

19.3%

Gallardo_PAgraph

The Rangers acquired Yovani Gallardo this offseason from the Brewers. At one point in his career, Gallardo was striking out almost a quarters of the batters he faced. Over the last two years, that ability has slowly eroded. As his strike outs have left his arsenal, his ability to generate ground balls has slowly improved. Despite the higher ground ball rate, he has still shown a proclivity to give up too many homers. This shifting skill set doesn’t really paint a picture of a pitcher who would sit atop a rotation but that’s the situation the Rangers and Gallardo are in. His best pitch is his curveball but he throws his slider more often. He’ll throw both his breaking pitches to righties and lefties alike which has allowed him to mitigate his platoon split—he even ran a reverse split last year.

RHP Colby Lewis (2014 Stats)

IP

K%

BB%

HR/FB%

GB%

ERA

FIP

170 1/3

17.5%

6.3%

10.1%

33.0%

5.18

4.46

Pitches

Four-seam

Sinker

Changeup

Slider

Curveball

89.8 mph;

50.2%

88.8 mph;

12.2%

84.2 mph;

7.2%

83.8 mph;

22.4%

77.7 mph;

8.1%

Lewis_PAgraph

Colby Lewis has been a fixture as a mid-rotation starter for the Rangers since 2010. His ability to generate strike outs has slowly deteriorated and he would be #5 or #6 on most Major League teams. But we’re talking about the Rangers so he finds himself as their #2. Last year, he suffered through some poor batted ball luck—his BABIP was a whopping .339 which was driven by a high line drive rate. He throws five pitches and none of them rate as above average according to Pitch Arsenal Score.

LHP Ross Detwiler (2014 Stats)

IP

K%

BB%

HR/FB%

GB%

ERA

FIP

63

14.2%

7.7%

7.4%

46.3%

4.00

4.16

Pitches

Four-seam

Sinker

Changeup

Curveball

94.4 mph;

41.4%

93.3 mph;

44.2%

85.6 mph;

4.3%

79.8 mph;

9.8%

Detwiler_PAgraph

Last year, Detwiler was exclusively used out of the National’s bullpen. He saw a 1 mph increase in his average fastball velocity that hasn’t transitioned with him back to the rotation. This year, his average fastball velocity is sitting around 92-93 mph, more in line with his career norms. And there will be fastballs. About four out of every five pitches he’s thrown over his career has been a fastball. Last year, among pitchers who threw at least 60 innings, his fastball percentage was fifth highest in the majors. As a starter, he’ll mix in his change and curve more often but neither is anything to write home about.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team

W-L

W%

Games Behind

Recent Form

Athletics

5-5

.500

-

L-L-W-W-L

Astros

4-5

.444

0.5

L-W-L-L-W

Angels

4-5

.444

0.5

L-L-W-L-W

Rangers

4-6

.400

1.0

W-L-L-W-L

Mariners

3-6

.333

1.5

W-W-L-L-L

The Wild Card Race

Team

W-L

W%

Games Behind

Recent Form

Royals

7-2

.778

+1.5

W-W-W-L-L

Rays

6-4

.600

-

W-W-W-L-W

Orioles

5-4

.556

0.5

W-L-L-W-W

Blue Jays

5-5

.500

1.0

W-L-L-W-L

Astros

4-5

.444

1.5

L-W-L-L-W

The Athletics find themselves atop the AL West with a .500 record. While the Mariners were getting swept down in Los Angeles, our division rivals were all beating up on each other. The Royals lost their first game of the year and then decided to lose their second while they were at it. They’re still sitting behind the Tigers in the AL Central.