Texas Rangers: On Deck-New York Mets

May 31, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) reacts to driving in a run in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
May 31, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) reacts to driving in a run in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Texas Rangers look to turn their recent misfortunes around as they take on the Mets in a two-game series starting tonight. Both of these teams have had their fair share of struggles and need this series to go their way.

After getting swept by the Houston Astros, the Texas Rangers needed an off day. After dropping four straight, they were happy to take a step back and get a chance to recollect themselves. They desperately need to win this series with the Mets if they’re going to turn their season around.

Luckily for them, the Mets have struggled to find success this season as well. They’ve had to battle injuries all season so the Rangers won’t be getting them at full force. But what is detrimental to one team is the other’s good fortune.

Obviously, you never want to see another team suffer with injuries. Everybody wants to face each other at full strength so the victory is that much sweeter. But you won’t hear the Rangers complaining about not having to face Noah Syndergaard.

It’s been a long time since these two teams faced off. It was way back in 2014 when they last played each other in a three-game series up in New York. The Mets got the better of the Rangers that time around though the Rangers did win one game still.

Similar to this year, both teams were in a slump when they met each other. And that series proved a pivotal part of each teams season.

After winning the series, the Mets went on to win eight of their next nine games. They entered the series fourth place in their division and eleven games under .500. They would end the season at second in their division just four games under .500.

The Rangers on the other hand, went on to lose ten of their next eleven games after dropping that series. They also entered the series fourth in their division and eleven games under .500. They would end the season at dead last in their division and eighteen games under .500.

So needless to say, this series could shape the course of the season. Let’s see how the games look to play out.

Tuesday, May 6 (Gee vs. deGrom)

Dillon Gee gets the chance to face his former team for just the second time and the first time as a starter. Gee pitched for the Mets from 2010-2015 before they traded him to the Royals last year. The Rangers picked him up before the season began and after a couple of relief appearances, he’ll get his first start tonight.

Gee tossed 2.2 innings against the Rays in his debut and did not allow a run on three hits. He got in a little longer against the Astros, pitching the last 4 innings of the game. He allowed four runs during that span but all of them were unearned and came in the eighth inning. The other three innings were all three-up-three-down save one walk. He also struck out four.

If he could do that against the hottest team in baseball, he ought to have success against the Mets. Plus, the one time he faced them as a Royal, he did pretty well. He didn’t start the year but he came in for relief and tossed two innings. He didn’t allow a run and gave up just one hit.

With Noah d out, Jacob deGrom has been the team’s ace this season. He’s 4-2 on the year with a 3.97 ERA. Probably his most impressive statistic though is his 12.18 K/9 rate. That leads all National League pitchers, which includes Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer.

DeGrom has never faced the Rangers in his career so it’ll be a new experience for him. The Rangers have hit better against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers so that’s one disadvantage for him. Plus they’re playing at home where they hit better. Not to mention that Elvis Andrus has been on a tear lately and Adrian Beltre has recorded at least one hit in every game he’s been back so far.

Prediction: Rangers win as Gee pitches a gem against his former team. The bullpen does a great job to hold on to his lead and the offense gives plenty of run support.

Tuesday, June 7 (Darvish vs. Wheeler)

Yu Darvish’s record his now just 5-4 but that has more to do with running into hot teams and facing off against some great pitchers than it does any struggles he’s had on the mound. His 3.13 leads all Rangers starters and his 80 strikeouts is nearly double the next closest in Martin Perez.

He did pitch against the Mets back in 2014 and it wasn’t a great outing. He allowed four runs in five innings en route to a loss. However, it’s hard to draw conclusions from one game and that was a different team than the one he’ll be playing tomorrow.

Darvish has lost the past two games he’s pitched. Only once in his entire career has Darvish recorded three losses in a row and that was back in 2013. I don’t see that happening again tomorrow.

Zack Wheeler will take the mound for the Mets. Wheeler has been pretty solid this year, leading the Mets rotation with a 3.72 ERA though he has a record of 3-3. He got off to a rough start in his return to the majors since missing all of 2015 and 2016 with Tommy Johns surgery. He allowed five runs through four innings against Miami. Since then however, he’s been much better. He’s given up more than three runs in just one start since then though he still rarely makes it through the seventh inning.

Wheeler did pitch back in the 2014 series against the Rangers and collected a win. He held them t one run on six hits through 6.1 innings. Again though, this is a very different team than the one he last faced and he’ll be pitching in Texas instead of New York. Wheeler has collected just one win on the road this year and records more hits than he does innings pitched.

Prediction: Rangers win thanks to a dominant start by Darvish. Wheeler has some success against the Rangers at the beginning but he can’t keep it up and his bullpen doesn’t do him any favors.

Common Opponents

Rangers: Phillies (3-0); Angels (3-3); Padres (3-1)

Astros: Phillies (4-2); Angels (2-1); Padres (1-2)