A different team pitching sure didn’t keep the Rangers lineup from hitting homers last night. With a rookie on the mound for Seattle tonight, the Rangers may tear the Mariners up. Ian Kinsler had his first season stolen base and he may just be able to grab another one if gets on the bases tonight. On the other hand, it will be the first start for bullpen relief pitcher Alexi Ogando who is now in the starting rotation temporarily. Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups for tonight’s game after the jump.
The Rangers will put right-handed Alexi Ogando on the mound Tuesday. Ogando is originally a relief pitcher and should find himself back in the bullpen in about six weeks upon the return of Tommy Hunter, who currently is on the disabled list with a strained groin. The Rangers chose Ogando as Hunter’s replacement in the rotation. Ogando went 4-1 in 2010 with a 1.30 ERA. He struck out 39 and walked 16 while allowing 6 runs on 31 hits over 41 innings. This spring, he was stretched out to become a starter and did very well but the need for him was in the bullpen until Hunter was injured. He had an ERA of 5.06 striking out 11 and walking 3 while allowing 6 runs on 15 hits over 10 innings pitched. He had the stuff to be a starter, which is why he finds himself as the replacement so beware Seattle.
The Mariners will counter with right-handed Michael Pineda. Pineda is a Major League rookie this year after being named the fifth pitcher in the Mariners starting rotation. After splitting time last year in the Minor Leagues between AA and AAA with impressive stats: ERA of 2.22, 78 strikeouts, 17 walks in 77 innings; ERA of 4.76, 76 strikeouts, 17 walks over 61 innings respectively, he was invited to camp where he posted a 2.12 ERA with 15 strikes and 6 walks over 17 innings at which time Seattle decided to keep him in the Bigs instead of sending him back down to the Minors. With the Rangers having such a high powered form right now, Pineda may struggle; however, he has a strong arm and regardless of this being his Major League debut, he could very well tear the Rangers up and leave them hanging for their five-game consecutive winning streak.
Only a few of the Mariners have batted against Ogando and not one of the Rangers has batted against Pineda so it’s going to be new for everyone tonight!
Offense/Defense for Mariners
Well, as I said in my previous preview, Justin Smoak is the one to watch. He continued his hitting streak last night against Rangers’ starting pitcher Derek “The Dutch Oven” Holland and I’m sure he won’t let a relief pitcher get in his way of continuing it tonight. Aside from Smoak, Figgins and Olivo had RBIs.
As for their defense, it was decent…and the talk of the night for the Mariners was when Ichiro had a fielding error on a line drive from Torrealba – this guy hardly ever gets fielding errors. He only had four in 160 games last season. What was that all about? Was he really that intimidated by the Rangers? Probably not, but it sounds good! Then, later in the game, he almost committed a second error but recovered.