The game of the three-game series against the Seattle Mariners is early this afternoon. The Rangers have won the first two games of the series resulting in a streak of five victories. Texas has won every single game they have played this season thus far, which is the third time in the club’s history. In 1979, the club won six consecutive games and then in 1996, the Rangers won seven consecutive games.
I think tonight will be the most difficult yet as the pitcher the Mariners are putting on the mound lasted all nine innings in his opening day start.
Pitching Matchups – Battle of the Team’s Aces
The Rangers put Opening Day starter and team ace C.J. Wilson on the mound for today’s game. In Wilson’s first game of the year, he has an ERA of 3.18 after getting to only pitch 5.2 innings due to allowing four runs on six hits while throwing six strikeouts and two walks.
Against the Mariners, Wilson has a 5.18 ERA and is 6-4 for his career but as a starter, he has an ERA of 4.50 and is 1-2 allowing 15 runs on 29 hits over 30 innings. The Mariners have a batting average of .259 against this LHP.
The Mariners will counter with Felix Hernandez on the mound. Hernandez opened the season for Seattle and pitched the entire game. He is 1-0 with a solid 2.00 ERA for the season so far and has only allowed two runs on five hits as well as one homer.
In six starts last year against the Rangers, Hernandez was 2-3 with an ERA of 4.28. The Rangers have a batting average of .255 against this 24-year-old RHP, which is the best of any team against him.
There are several players who have hit very well against Wilson including but not limited to Justin Smoak, Jack Cust and Chone Figgins. However, not a single Mariner has ever hit more than just a single home run against Wilson. Keep in mind also that Justin Smoak ended his hitting streak last night that had lasted for 14 games. He went 0-for-4 last night against newly converted starter Alexi Ogando.
The Rangers haven’t necessarily fared well against this pitcher. The Rangers who have had the most success against Hernandez would be Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young with Mike Napoli and David Murphy having decent success as well. Cruz is going homer crazy this year and while he does have three off Hernandez, he may not be able to pick one up tonight. Murphy has hit two homers off Hernandez. Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton and Julio Borbon have definitely struggled against Hernandez.
The lineup hasn’t been revealed just yet but I’m thinking Washington is going to put in David Murphy over Borbon today.
David Murphy, as I expected, will get a start tonight in left field against RHP Felix Hernandez.
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
C Yorvit Torrealba
1B Mitch Moreland
RF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Chone Figgins
LF Milton Bradley
DH Jack Cust
1B Justin Smoak
2B Jack Wilson
SS Brendan Ryan
CF Michael Saunders
C Adam Moore