clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Series Preview: Mariners (59-54) vs. Rangers (39-73)

The Mariners return home with a three-game series against the Rangers on the docket.

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

After the Mariners success against the Rays in the middle of that long East Coast road trip, the let down against the Yankees dampened the extreme long-shot hopes for the team. But it’s not like they were blown out in New York; they lost the first three games by a combined score of four runs and won the fourth by two. In fact, during the ten-game road trip, the Mariners went 4-6 with each of their losses a one- or two-run deficit and three of them walk-offs. So much of this team’s success this year has been built on timely hitting and a lockdown bullpen, but we saw some of that extremely good luck finally start to turn last week.

At a Glance

Rangers Mariners
Rangers Mariners
Game 1 Tuesday, August 10 | 7:10 pm
LHP Kolby Allard RHP Logan Gilbert
36% 64%
Game 2 Wednesday, August 11 | 7:10 pm
RHP Spencer Howard LHP Tyler Anderson
37% 63%
Game 3 Thursday, August 12 | 1:10 pm
RHP Mike Foltynewicz LHP Marco Gonzales
36% 64%
*Game odds courtesy of FiveThirtyEight (Explainer)

Team Overview

Overview Rangers Mariners Edge
Overview Rangers Mariners Edge
Batting (wRC+) 82 (15th in AL) 91 (12th in AL) Mariners
Fielding (OAA) 16 (4th) -10 (10th) Rangers
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 121 (15th) 112 (12th) Mariners
Bullpen (FIP-) 99 (7th) 88 (3rd) Mariners

The Mariners and Rangers will finish off their season series with six games over the next two weeks split by a three-game set against the Blue Jays this weekend. Seattle has won eight of 13 against Texas so far and were two Jonah Heim home runs away from sweeping them in Texas a couple weeks ago. If the Mariners really want to stick around in the Wild Card race, winning these series against the dregs of the American League is critically important.

After trading away Joey Gallo, Kyle Gibson, and Ian Kennedy at the trade deadline, the Rangers are in full on “throw players at the wall and see what sticks” mode. Their farm system is one of the deepest in baseball but their upper levels are largely devoid of high quality talent right now. They’ve called up a handful of fringe prospects who were already in Triple-A to give them a chance to stick at the major league level. They have a decent chance of bottoming out for the first pick in the 2022 draft, especially after starting off the second half with a 12-game losing streak. They’ve won just four games since the All-Star break and have currently lost six in a row.

Rangers Lineup

Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Player Position Bats PA BABIP wRC+ BsR
Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS R 470 0.293 80 2.9
Yonny Hernandez 3B S 251 0.320 106
Adolis García RF R 415 0.305 112 -1.9
Nate Lowe 1B L 447 0.331 108 -1.9
Andy Ibáñez 2B R 150 0.220 70 0.3
Jonah Heim C S 204 0.217 70 -1.5
DJ Peters CF R 57 0.364 63 -0.2
Curtis Terry DH R 41 0.160 -8 0.0
Jason Martin LF L 85 0.173 32 0.3

Yonny Hernandez is the highest ranked prospect called up by the Rangers — 27th on FanGraphs organizational list. He’s a high-contact speedster who can play all around the infield competently and has plenty of speed to cause havoc on the basepaths. He’s probably not a first-division starter for the Rangers but he’s a really nice bench piece to have on the roster. Curtis Terry was also recently called up after crushing Triple-A pitching in his first taste of the level. He’s hit at every level of the minors and has both good contact and power tools, though neither is plus. DJ Peters was a waiver claim from the Dodgers and is now their starting center fielder after Eli White was sidelined with an elbow injury.

Probable Pitchers

Updated Stuff+ Explainer

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

LHP Kolby Allard

81 2/3 21.0% 5.2% 14.9% 38.7% 5.07 4.46
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 46.9% 91.7 2139 64 84 72
Cutter 26.2% 86.3 2226 90 67 84
Changeup 15.6% 84.1 1616 85 70 100
Curveball 10.8% 76.0 1958 75 71 64

From a previous series preview:

Kolby Allard had struggled in his previous stints as a starter for the Rangers. He just couldn’t make the right adjustments to find success in longer outings. He tinkered with his pitch mix but really struggled with runners on base. He started out this year in a long-relief role but made the jump to the starting rotation in late May. He had a nice run of seven starts to open this stint in the rotation, pitching to a 3.62 ERA and a 3.67 FIP, but his last couple of starts have been ugly.

The Mariners hit Allard hard during his last outing against them. He lasted only three innings and allowed seven runs on six hits and three walks. He bounced back a bit in his last start against the Angels, pitching six innings of two run ball.

RHP Spencer Howard

30 2/3 24.5% 13.7% 8.6% 36.6% 6.16 4.37

Spencer Howard was the big acquisition coming back to the Rangers in the Kyle Gibson/Ian Kennedy trade. He had a rough major league debut after some conditioning issues caused him some problems with his fastball velocity last season. This year, the Phillies couldn’t commit to using him as a reliever or out of the starting rotation and bounced him from the bullpen to the minors and back to the majors and all around. The talent is there — he ranked 33rd on FanGraphs 2021 top 100 prospects — but he could use a stable development environment to really harness the stuff he possesses. The Rangers should be able to provide that for him since they’re not in the middle of a playoff race. His first start for the Rangers was pretty forgettable, lasting just 2.1 innings while allowing three runs on three hits and two walks.

RHP Mike Foltynewicz

117 16.0% 6.2% 19.0% 35.5% 5.77 6.24
Pitch Frequency Velocity Spin Rate Stuff+ Whiff+ BIP+
Four-seam 31.4% 93.8 2159 100 49 81
Sinker 21.1% 93.2 2102 102 58 104
Changeup 12.6% 85.5 1789 86 98 47
Curveball 9.9% 77.1 2333 64 44 124
Slider 25.0% 83.2 2429 81 75 89

From a previous series preview:

Back in 2018, Mike Foltynewicz’s fastball reached a peak velocity of 96.3 mph leading to a breakout season with a 2.85 ERA backed by a 3.37 FIP. But the next year, he struggled to follow up on his success and 2020 was an even greater disaster. After just one start last year where his fastball velocity was just 90.9 mph, he was designated for assignment and released by the Braves. He signed with the Rangers in the offseason in the hopes that his fastball velocity could return to its former glory. So far, it’s mostly returned, hitting 94 mph regularly. But that’s still well below what he was throwing in Atlanta during his peak seasons. His biggest issue is the long ball, as batters have crushed his fastball now that its elite velocity is gone.

This season must feel like a twisted version of Groundhog Day for Foltynewicz; he’s faced the Mariners in every single series these two teams have played so far. His last outing was the shortest of the season against Seattle at just five innings, but the Rangers finally managed to win one of his starts.

The Big Picture:

The AL West

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Astros 66-46 0.589 -- W-L-L-W-L
Athletics 64-48 0.571 2.0 L-W-W-W-W
Mariners 59-54 0.522 7.5 L-L-L-L-W
Angels 56-56 0.500 10.0 W-W-W-L-L
Rangers 39-73 0.348 27.0 L-L-L-L-L

The Wild Card Race

Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Team W-L W% Games Behind Recent Form
Athletics 64-48 0.571 -- L-W-W-W-W
Red Sox 65-49 0.570 -- L-L-L-W-L
Yankees 62-50 0.554 2.0 W-W-W-L-W
Blue Jays 60-50 0.545 3.0 W-W-W-L-W
Mariners 59-54 0.522 5.5 L-L-L-L-W

The Astros stumbled a bit last weekend, losing their four game series to the Twins. They’ve gone 4-6 over their last 10 games but have a pretty easy schedule ahead. They’ll host the Rockies for two games this week before heading off to Los Angeles to play the Angels over the weekend. Oakland has taken advantage of Houston’s recent swoon, closing the gap at the top of the division to just two games. They swept Texas over the weekend and will start a three-game series in Cleveland this afternoon.

The Red Sox have crashed back down to earth over the last few weeks, winning just three of their last 13 games. They lost three of four to the Blue Jays last weekend and have a huge series against the Rays on the docket this week. After going 9-2 during their first homestand in Toronto since 2019, the Blue Jays head to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Angels before coming to Seattle this weekend. The Yankees won the first game of their series against the Royals last night and it was a wild one. Both teams scored in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th innings, with the Yankees bullpen blowing four save opportunities. The Yankees finally won after an errant ground ball struck Nicky Lopez in the face, allowing two additional runs to score in the 11th.