Mariners continue playoff push back home vs. Rangers
After a disappointing 3-7 road trip, the Seattle Mariners look to turn the page and continue their playoff pursuit on Tuesday against the visiting Texas Rangers.
The Mariners (83-69) still control their destiny, and they start a 10-game homestand off against the struggling Texas Rangers (65-87), who enter the series after being swept by the Cleveland Guardians.
The Mariners have a four-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles for the third and final wild-card spot in the American League, while trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by a half-game.
Even going through a cold stretch, the Mariners are still in a good spot. But they would have been in an even better position had they not blown a nine-run lead in Sunday’s 13-12 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals scored 11 runs in the sixth inning, and ended Seattle’s already agonizing road trip with an excruciating loss.
“You just have to flush it out as much as it’s going to haunt us,” shortstop J.P. Crawford said. “The reality of it is you just have to forget about it and remember there are bigger games ahead of us, and not dwell on it.”
In Tuesday’s series opener with Texas, Seattle will start left-hander Robbie Ray (12-10, 3.60 ERA).
Dane Dunning was initially lined up to start for the Rangers, but the right-hander is scheduled for season-ending arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.
Instead, the Rangers will make Tuesday a bullpen game, with right-handed reliever Jesus Tinoco (0-0, 1.72 ERA) lined up to serve as the opener. It will be first career start for Tinoco, as well as his first time facing the Mariners.
Seattle’s rough go on the road also included the club losing the services of two key players. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez landed on the injured list with a fractured right index finger, and rookie center fielder Julio Rodriguez is out with a lower back strain. Suarez could be activated ahead the series opener against Texas.
Sunday’s loss complicated matters even more for Seattle.
“Not a great road trip,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We came out and did a lot of good things offensively and had a commanding lead in the ballgame, and then we let our guard down a little bit and shut it down.”
The offensive standouts for Seattle in Sunday’s loss were Ty France and Mitch Haniger, who each had three hits and two RBIs.
The Rangers look to bounce back and end the season on a high after they watched the Guardians celebrate winning the American League Central Division title in their own stadium on Sunday.
First baseman Nathaniel Lowe will be a determining factor in how Texas closes the season, as he has been among the Rangers’ best hitters, batting .304 with 25 home runs and 73 RBIs.
“The bottom half of our lineup is pretty much just youth,” Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley said on his radio pregame show. “If Cleveland can do it, so can we. It’s one of those situations where our guys see that, and say, ‘These guys can have success at this level. We can do the same thing.'”
–Field Level Media