This article is part of our MLB Picks series.
Best MLB Bets, Mariners vs. Rangers, Sept 23
This is what we live for, the final stretch. For my own nefarious activities, I have been aggressively rooting for one team in particular this year. Stop me if you know who they are.
Seattle Mariners (+110) @ Texas Rangers (-180) | Over/Under 8.5
Seattle is a team of runs, both hot and cold. Before the Mariners' scorcher started in July, we were looking at basically a .500 ballclub with no oomph. We know all about how they took the league by storm for over six weeks. And now somebody turned the cold water on. This Mariners team is really in danger of missing the postseason altogether, which would be a crying shame. If they want to decide their own fate, then they need to push back against the bullies of Texas.
The Rangers are really 6-1 against Seattle this year, which is an absolute killer if you're the M's. They'll play six more games against each other and the Mariners see Houston for a three-game set. With each game getting more critical by the day, the AL West rivals will throw some of their best arms out there to duke it out.
The Mermen are handing the ball to the man they call "Walter." And I'm not really sure why that is Logan Gilbert's nickname because he looks a lot more like Pennywise. He's more like something a child would see in their nightmares. Regardless, it's been a solid season for Gilbert, one where he's seen way more success on the road. Pitching to a 3.41 ERA away vs. a 4.18 ERA at home has helped him secure a 9-1 mark. Additionally, Seattle has won 11 of 16 road games that Gilbert has started. In his only outing against the Rangers this year, Pennywise tossed 6.2 innings of two-run ball with 10 punchies. Looking to rebound off a bad performance against the Dodgers, this seems like the perfect spot to get right. One thing I find noteworthy is how the reinsertion of rookie 3B Josh Jung has breathed life into a reeling team. In my opinion, part of the reason for their dramatic fall off was because he was missed. Since his return, Texas has won nine of 10 games.
A mid-season addition for Texas, Jordan Montgomery has been a gigantic piece for this rotation that has been crippled by injuries. Monty has probably been one of the most steady pieces this team has had, at least that's what his 2.30 ERA in a Ranger uniform would argue. After two horrendous showings against Minnesota and Oakland, the lefty cleaned up his act by shoving 14 innings and allowing only one run and one walk in his last two starts against Toronto and Boston. Potential trouble for Montgomery is how much Seattle's offense loves the lefties. The M's are hitting .260 against them, as opposed to .238 vs. right handers. The obvious matchup to watch is how he handles Julio Rodriguez, who is not only one of the biggest superstars in the sport, but the fact that he is hitting .317 against LHP this year.
Seattle has been by team since day one. I refuse to believe this is how it ends, even if there are a lot more deciding games to be played. The M's looked bad in the first game, and with every game mattering, I think they show up tonight.
Pick: Mariners ML +110