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2 Step Then Cowboy Boogie: Mariners (56-78) at Rangers (65-69)

Nothing helps right the ship like not playing the Yankees

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Fresh a regular butt-kicking at the hands of the Yankees, the Mariners take their horse (read: jet) on the old town road (read: air route) to ride (read: hit) til they can’t no more (read: til the game is over). Yes, that’s right, the Mariners are in Texas and I’ve listened to too much country rap lately. As if there’s such a thing.

At a Glance

Mariners Rangers
Mariners Rangers
Game 1 Thursday, August 29 | 5:05 pm
RHP Félix Hernández RHP Lance Lynn
39% 61%
Game 2 Friday, August 30 | 5:05 pm
LHP Marco Gonzales LHP Kolby Allard
50% 50%
Game 3 Saturday, August 31 | 5:05 pm
LHP Tommy Milone LHP Brock Burke
46% 54%
Game 4 Sunday, September 1 | 12:05 pm
LHP Yusei Kikuchi LHP Mike Minor
39% 61%

Team Overview

Overview Rangers Mariners Edge
Overview Rangers Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 89 (11th in AL) 104 (7th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (DRS) -39 (11th) -67 (14th) Rangers
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 98 (5th) 114 (14th) Rangers
Bullpen (FIP-) 100 (8th) 112 (13th) Rangers

The Rangers’ pitching is pretty darn good. A lot of that can be explained by them having two 4+ fWAR pitchers, including Best Pitcher In Baseball (what, and I cannot stress this enough, the hell) Lance Lynn. That’s gone a long way towards propping up their record, as their bats overall are 2018 Ryon Healy quality. So are the gloves, really.

Projected Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Shin-Soo Choo RF L 549 0.334 116 2.5
Danny Santana 1B S 409 0.364 116 3.4
Elvis Andrus SS R 534 0.304 80 4.8
Willie Calhoun LF L 220 0.290 124 -0.4
Nick Solak DH R 35 0.474 166 0.0
Rougned Odor 2B L 471 0.239 65 0.3
Logan Forsythe 3B R 344 0.303 78 -0.3
Delino DeShields CF R 324 0.347 80 4.0
Jeff Mathis C R 229 0.246 8 -0.6

I get that, like, you want to know about this lineup top to bottom. I get that. I do. But how on earth am I supposed to lead with anything beyond the fact that the Rangers have given Jeff Mathis 229 PA and his wRC+ is... 8? It’s 8. I checked it three times. The Rangers might actually be pretty good at hitting if you left him out! Okay, well, they’d be better. Shin-Soo Choo and Danny Santana and Willie Calhoun are neat, and Nick Solak has potential. But Rougned Odor remains mal-odorous instead of bon-odorous, and Logan Forsythe is looking pretty old. Again, Jeff Mathis has a wRC+ of 8.

Probable Pitchers

Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

RHP Lance Lynn

170 2/3 27.4% 6.7% 8.9% 41.7% 3.85 2.98
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 52.7% 94.8 2468 103 170 102
Sinker 18.6% 93.1 2304 151 131 86
Cutter 15.7% 89.3 2571 112 119 97
Changeup 2.8% 87.0 1814
Curveball 10.1% 81.4 2351 94 133 80

Lance Lynn has always been good. Suddenly, Lance Lynn is great. The stuff is really good across the board and generates lots of whiffs. Lance Lynn is 6’5”, 280 pounds. His Players Weekend jersey was because his full name is Michael Lance Lynn. Honestly, I’m not really sure what to say about Lance Lynn. He is really, really good and I kind of hate it. At least the rest of the Rangers are bad.

LHP Kolby Allard

21 1/3 24.2% 8.4% 4.8% 39.3% 4.64 2.93

Kolby Allard came to the Rangers in the Chris Martin trade, which, wow, the Rangers got Kolby Allard for two months of Chris Martin and I still can’t believe that happened. Allard, a former first rounder, has pitched 21 innings for Texas and they’ve been good. Just barely 22, Allard was an absolute steal for Texas and throws a three pitch mix: fastball, curve, change. All three pitches are good, and Allard’s early returns make him look like a thorn in the AL West’s side for many years to come.

LHP Brock Burke

12 18.8% 10.4% 0.0% 64.5% 0.75 3.46

Brock Burke is a lot like a couple of Mariners’ pitchers in one specific 2019 aspect: he’s deserved to be in AAA, but has barely spent any time there because of the juiced ball. Instead, he spent the lion’s share of his minor league time in AA, where he carved the league up, rather than AAA, where he had an ERA of 7.88. 12 innings into his big-league career and Burke looks promising: he has a four pitch mix and a recently improved velocity trend thanks to a weighted ball program. Also, he says Chick-Fil-A’s chicken sandwich is the best one. Make of that what you will.

LHP Mike Minor

174 1/3 24.4% 8.0% 11.8% 40.6% 3.25 3.94
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 44.8% 92.9 2645 113 127 111
Changeup 23.2% 86.5 2276 94 106 123
Curveball 12.2% 81.0 2530 112 115 110
Slider 19.8% 86.8 2729 122 71 105

As the Mariners’ pitching prospects trickle into the big leagues, Mike Minor is an excellent reminder of exactly how fickle elite pitching can be. A heralded prospect who had a couple nice seasons in Atlanta, Minor sort of went of a cliff in Atlanta, headed to Kansas City, headed to Texas, and squeezed a couple of, again, nice seasons in before a sudden 2019 breakout in his 10th (!) year in the big leagues. All four Texas starters in this series have compelling reasons to watch them. Maybe this will be us soon.

AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 87-47 0.649 -- W-W-W-W-W
Athletics 76-56 0.576 10.0 L-L-W-W-L
Rangers 65-69 0.485 22.0 L-W-L-L-W
Angels 64-71 0.474 23.5 L-L-L-W-L
Mariners 56-78 0.418 31.0 L-W-L-L-L

AL Wild Card

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Cleveland 78-55 0.586 +1.5 W-W-L-W-W
Athletics 76-56 0.576 -- L-L-W-W-L
Rays 76-58 0.567 1.0 W-L-L-L-L
Red Sox 72-62 0.537 5.0 W-W-L-W-W
Rangers 65-69 0.485 22.0 L-W-L-L-W

I would like to speak to the Manager about the Rangers’ continued inclusion in this table.

2020 Draft Order

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Tigers 39-91 0.300 -- W-L-L-L-L
Orioles 44-89 0.331 3.5 L-W-W-W-L
Royals 47-87 0.351 6.0 L-W-L-L-W
Marlins 47-85 0.356 7.0 L-W-L-L-L
Blue Jays 54-81 0.400 12.5 L-W-L-W-L
Mariners 56-78 0.418 15.0 L-W-L-L-L
Pirates 56-77 0.421 15.5 W-W-L-W-L
Rockies 59-75 0.440 18.0 L-L-W-L-L
White Sox 60-72 0.455 20.0 W-L-W-L-L
Padres 61-71 0.462 21.0 L-W-W-L-L

Thanks to the Yankees, the Mariners were able to slide into the 6th spot again, and even to make up a little ground on the Jays for the 5th spot.