Previewing the Texas Rangers' 12th series of the season: Seattle Mariners

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels
Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

The Texas Rangers will stay on the West Coast this week, after leaving Los Angeles Sunday afternoon with a big series victory, by taking two out of three from the Angels. The Rangers' next opponent will be another AL West rival, the Seattle Mariners. Seattle is also coming off of a big series victory of their own, over AL West favorite, the Houston Astros.

Texas Rangers look to extend AL West lead while on the road against the Seattle Mariners

Texas still finds itself atop the standings in the AL West with a 20-13 record and two games ahead of the Angels. By taking two of three at home against Houston, Seattle has pulled into a tie with the Astros at 17-17 and they are both 3.5 games back of Texas.

Date and Time

Rangers Probable Pitcher

Mariners Probable Pitcher

Mon 8th - 8:40 CT

Jon Gray - RHP 1-1, 4.40 ERA, 19 SO

Logan Gilbert - RHP 1-1, 4.01 ERA, 40 SO

Tues 9th - 8:40 CT

Andrew Heaney - LHP 2-2, 5.52 ERA, 31 SO

George Kirby - RHP 3-2, 3.11 ERA, 26 SO

Wed 10th - 2:40 CT

Dane Dunning - RHP 2-0, 1.42 ERA, 14 SO

Luis Castillo - RHP 2-0, 2.38 ERA, 43 SO

Last series the Rangers faced all left-handed starters from the Angels but are scheduled to face all righties up in Seattle. There will be no easy outings in the series, as all three Mariner's starters have top-of-the-rotation stuff. Seattle will march out their 2018 and 2019 first-round selections in the first two games.

Logan Gilbert was the 14th selection in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft. Out of Stetson University, the 6-foot-6, 215-pound righty is starting his third season in the big leagues, and he will get the ball in game one. George Kirby was the 20th selection in the first round of the 2019 MLB draft and will take the hill in game two. Kirby went to college at Elon University and made his major league debut last season on May 8th. Watching Gilbert (age 26) and Kirby (age 25) pitch on Monday and Tuesday will no doubt cause Ranger fans to daydream a bit about some of our own pitching prospects and think about what could be in just a few short years.

In the last game of the series, Rangers' hitters will face off against Luis Castillo. Castillo who hails from the Dominican Republic, came over to the Mariners from the Cincinnati Reds last year at the trade deadline. Seattle was quick to sign Castillo to a contract extension in September to the tune of $108 million over five years.

He didn't disappoint in his short time with the club last season, as he not only helped push them into the playoffs (Seattle's first playoff appearance in 21 years) but also pitched well in the playoffs. He got the win in game one of the AL Wild Card on the road in Toronto. Then in game two of the AL Division Series at Houston, Castillo took the loss. He did pitch well though, going 7 innings, allowing three runs on five hits, and striking out seven. This season Castillo has pitched 41.2 innings in seven starts, has 43 strikeouts, a 2.38 ERA, and a 0.912 WHIP.

Jarred Kelenic was supposed to be a can't miss kid. Drafted by the New York Mets with the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Waukesha West HS in Wisconsin, the powerful left-handed bat immediately vaulted up everyone's prospect rankings. In fact, starting the 2021 season Kelenic was ranked the fourth-best prospect in all of baseball.

As the centerpiece of the trade that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets, there was a ton of pressure on Kelenic to perform at a high level, and quickly. That didn't happen. After struggling the last two seasons when he was with the big club, Kelenic finally seems to be comfortable and playing to his talent level. He is leading the offense of the Mariners and is putting up some big numbers. Going into Sunday afternoons game, Kelenic is slashing .300/.361/.573, has seven home runs, a 159 OPS+, and also has five stolen bases. In comparison, over 147 games during 2021 and 2022, he hit .168/.251/.338 and had a dismal 66 OPS+.

While the Mariners aren't off to the start that they wanted, they aren't far off either. One factor in their slow start is the slumping Julio Rodriguez. Hopefully, he isn't getting on track just as the Rangers get to town, but he did hit a home run Sunday afternoon. Going into that game he had a hitting line of .215/.282/.392, five home runs (six now), and an 88 OPS+. Those numbers aren't terrible, but they are not what we are used to seeing from the 22-year-old phenom.

In 2022, all Rodriguez did was win the AL Rookie of the Year award, get selected as an All-Star, win the Silver Slugger, finish seventh in the AL MVP voting, and finished runner-up to Juan Soto in the Home Run Derby. Not a bad rookie campaign, all at the age of 21. Rodriguez is special, and I am sure that there will be a love-hate relationship between Ranger fans and him over the years to come. He will be fun to watch, but not fun to have to battle against in the AL West every year. Again, hopefully, the Ranger pitchers can keep his struggles going for at least another three days.

After this series with Seattle, Texas will have played one series with each of their AL West foes. So far, the Rangers have won all three of the previous series two games to three, including a home win against Oakland and road victories over Houston and Los Angeles. Another series win against, yet another AL West opponent will be hard to come by in Seattle, but this Ranger team has proven that they are up to most any task in front of them.