The Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners will begin a four-game series, starting Monday. This series will kick off with the aces of both teams taking the hill. Cole Hamels for the Rangers and Felix Hernandez for the Mariners will face each other at Safeco Field in Seattle. Texas pulled off the sweep against the Mariners in their last meeting, at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Seattle will count on Hernandez to pitch at the top of his game, to prevent the Rangers from taking wins across the board again.
Cole Hamels, at 32 years old, is the clear leader of the Rangers rotation. He sits at 14-4 with a 2.91 ERA. He’s just one of two American League pitchers that carry an ERA below 3.00, with at least 14 wins. He wasn’t exactly successful in his last outing against the Mariners, giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings. That was a season-high for Hamels, and only the fourth time this year that he was unable to go through five innings. Seattle has historically given the Rangers a tough matchup, but Cole Hamels is having an All-Star, Cy Young single season.
Felix Hernandez hasn’t exactly been the same King Felix that Mariners fans have known and loved. He faced injury issues back in July, spending 15 days on the DL. In his last outing against the Rangers, Felix performed just as poor as Hamels did. He also allowed six runs, going just four innings. It was his first loss since coming back from the 15-day DL stint. On the year, Hernandez is 9-5 with a 3.48 ERA. Seattle is looking for King Felix of last year; that managed to toss two complete game shutouts. The Felix Hernandez that threw a perfect game in 2012 would be an even better showing for the Mariners.
The Rangers are leading the season series, at 11-4. This includes going 4-2 at Safeco Field. Keep an eye on the bats in this series. Even though both teams are putting their best arms up to fight, the offense is more likely to be the best part of the matchup. The Mariners will count on Robinson Cano to continue powering through at the plate, adding on to the 30 homers he has this season. Rangers fans will keep their eye on Carlos Gomez, who managed a grand slam the last time Texas faced Hernandez.
For Texas, winning this series would only solidify their AL West lead and push them closer to securing home-field advantage throughout the postseason. For Seattle, winning or losing this series could determine whether or not they get the second Wild Card spot. Both teams need this series to get closer to their goal. Both teams are putting their best arms on the mound, in hopes of starting this matchup off the right way.