By: Willie Bee
The Texas Rangers jumped on Felix Hernandez for a big inning early, then ravaged the Seattle Mariners' bullpen for a huge frame late in Saturday's contest to send the series to a rubber game on Sunday.
MLB odds for Game 3 suggest a big mismatch with the Rangers carrying heavy -270 chalk behind starting pitcher Yu Darvish. Erasmo Ramirez is scheduled for the Mariners and the 8.5 run total is juiced a little more to the UNDER at many baseball betting outlets.
Texas spotted Hernandez and the Mariners a 2-0 lead before turning the early deficit into a 15-3 rout. The 15 runs marked a season-high for the Rangers, and the most they'd plated in a little more than a year going back to a 15-9 victory over the Angels on Aug. 2, 2012.
Ramirez is seeing the Rangers for the first time as a starter, his only experience a couple of relief outings in 2012 when he made his MLB debut and, three days later, his second big league game. He's been tearing up Triple-A this year with a 2.84 ERA in nine starts, but a 3-3 record there has been flipped by a 4-0 mark in the bigs -- 5 starts, 1 relief -- despite a bloated 7.06 ERA.
Darvish fell short in his second no-hit/perfect game attempt in Houston this year, losing the el perfecto in the sixth and no-no in the eighth on Monday against the Astros. It was his third straight winning start, and fifth in the last seven assignments. Darvish had just enough support to pull of Monday's win, and a lack of offense has behind the Rangers dropping eight of his last 14 starts.
He blanked the Mariners for seven innings the last time on this mound (April 19), seven days after they beat him 3-1 in Seattle. The M's have given him fits in the past though he's had success against everyone not named Kyle Seager.
Angel Hernandez is slated to work the plate in the series finale. The notoriously inconsistent umpire has been amazingly consistent this season as far as helping OVER bettors cash ticket (19-7 O/U). His two contests at Rangers Ballpark calling balls and strikes both jumped the total. Sunny skies with temps in the upper-80s make up the forecast for the matinee (3:05 PM ET).
Darvish has been on a good run since the all-star break, but there's no joy for me in betting a moneyline this high. I'll make my free play on the OVER.
By: Willie Bee
Ron Washington has had a reliable bullpen at his disposal to close out leads, but the Texas Rangers relief corps failed him in Friday's series opener against the Seattle Mariners.
The loss leaves Texas trying to even the set against one of the game's best hurlers as Seattle sends Felix Hernandez to the mound for Game 2. The All-Venezuelan mound clash finds Martín Perez starting for the Rangers who are the slight favorites at -107 on the morning lines after opening a little higher than that. MLB odds for Saturday's tilt also include an 8 run total (O -120).
Game 1 turned into a pitching duel between Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma and Texas' Derek Holland who was nursing a 1-0 lead before exiting after seven frames. Mariners bats woke up at that point to score three runs in the eighth and ninth for the 3-1 win. It was just the seventh blown save by Texas relievers this year, fewest in the majors.
Hernandez has been his usual dominant self all year, and especially so since July opened. Eight starts in July and August have yielded a 1.42 ERA, though that has translated into just a 5-3 mark for the Mariners. He has actually pitched better away from Safeco Field where his ERA is 2.39 in 12 starts
He has seen the Rangers plenty over his career with almost 240 innings of work, but his 3.73 ERA in those games is more than half a run higher than his 3.13 career mark. Hernandez is 0-2 in three starts vs. Texas this season with a 4.66 ERA.
Perez is facing the Mariners for the third time in his career as a starter, Texas splitting the other two assignments while he posted a 1.84 ERA in nearly 15 total innings (including two relief appearances). He allowed one unearned run while working into the sixth on July 4 against them. The little lefty is coming off a complete-game performance at Houston last Sunday, and the Rangers are 3-1 in his four home starts (1.75 ERA).
The weatherman is calling for a warm but otherwise nice evening in Arlington, with a first-pitch temp in the mid-80s, clear skies and light NNE breeze (out to right). Dana DeMuth is expected to call the balls and strikes, and is currently on a 6-game OVER streak to leave him 11-9 O/U on the season. Now in his 31st season working MLB games, DeMuth worked a King Felix start back in April that stayed below the total, and his last game behind the plate at Rangers Ballpark also failed to reach the number.
Despite Hernandez's trouble vs. Texas this year, it's too hard for me to pass on him at an underdog price. Seattle earns my nod for Saturday's free pick.
My pick: Mariners -103 at Bet365
By: Willie Bee
The red-hot Texas Rangers continue their homestand with a visit from the Seattle Mariners, and SBR will preview all three games over the weekend with free MLB picks.
Things looked rather bleak for the Texas Rangers as July was coming to a close. The club dropped eight of the first 10 games coming out of the all-star break while Oakland continued to win, and the Rangers quickly drifted six games behind the A's in the AL West.
That changed pretty quick in less than three weeks as Texas heads into a home series against the Seattle Mariners with a 1.5 game lead in the division. The Rangers really caught fire at the very end of July with a sweep of the Angels, all three wins coming on walk-off homers. That prompted a run that has continued into August with 11 victories in the month's first 13 games.
Seattle came out strong with five straight wins to begin the second half of 2013, but things have cooled since then. The Mariners reach Texas after dropping their final two games at Tampa Bay, and stand 7-13 in their last 20.
Texas leads the season series over the Mariners, 8-5, taking four of the six played at Rangers Ballpark. Totals were split 3-3 in those contests; the totals also were halved in the 10 games on this diamond a year ago.
Iwakuma, Holland Square Off In Series Opener
The Rangers went out as -170 favorites on the overnight MLB odds for Friday's tilt. Very little movement has been seen on that moneyline, and bettors also have an 8.5 run total for the pitching matchup between Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma and Texas' Derek Holland.
Seattle has dropped Iwakuma's last three starts, the most recent a 10-0 blanking by the Brewers at Safeco Field last Saturday. Iwakuma was sailing along with six shutout innings in the contest before the bottom fell out in the seventh when Milwaukee plated six runs to chase him after just one out. The 3-start losing skid was preceded by a 3-start win streak for the Tokyo native.
This will be his fourth assignment of 2013 vs. the Rangers, the Mariners winning the two played in Seattle and losing his July 4 start in Arlington. Iwakuma hasn't had much success on this mound the past couple of years; two starts and a relief appearance in Texas have seen him combine for 14.1 IP and allow nine earned runs (5.65).
Going the opposite way with Holland on the mound are the Rangers who have won each of his last three starts. Holland himself only got the dubya in one of those tilts, tossing eight scoreless frames at Oakland a little less than two weeks ago, the only win on his ledger since the all-star break. He has faced the M's twice this year, beating Felix Hernandez in Seattle in May and taking a no-decision at home vs. King Felix in a 4-2 Mariners win on July 3.
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Ogando Could Face Third DL Stint Of 2013
Texas' starting rotation started the season with several injured hurlers, and it hasn't gotten much better. Alexi Ogando, who wasn't in the mix for this series and has already made two trips to the DL, had a CT scan on his right shoulder during Thursday's off day and could see his season come to an end. The good news is the Rangers still have four solid arms in the rotation with Martin Perez and Yu Darvish to follow Holland to the hill this weekend, plus Matt Garza.
Seattle reaches Texas in relatively good health. The Mariners had hoped to have centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez back by now, but his injured hamstring has been slow to heal and Dustin Ackley is now getting a chance to show he can play the outfield.
There was some rain falling in the D-FW metroplex Friday morning, and the forecast called for scattered t-storms throughout the day. The clouds will at least keep the temperature down in the upper-80s with very little chance for rain called for this evening.
For several years now, each time the Rangers and Mariners are on the baseball betting schedule, I'm reminded of a game they played in Seattle on May 5, 2009. Never believing in 'bad beats' for gamblers, this one tested my resolve in that idea. My UNDER 8 wager seemed a lock when the teams went to extra innings tied 1-1. Texas scored six times in the top half of the inning, and the Mariners plated a meaningless run in the bottom of the 10th in a 7-2 Rangers win.
That game still haunts me when I look at betting the total in a Seattle-Texas clash, and will instead knock some of that chalk down with a free pick on the Rangers with a run line play.
My pick: Rangers -1.5 (+125) at Bet365