After a nerve-racking weekend, the Texas Rangers (90-71) finally punched their ticket to the postseason with a win on Saturday night — and eliminated the Seattle Mariners (87-74) in the process. Seattle may be ready to head home for the winter, but Texas still very much has something to play for as these two teams get together on the final day of the 2023 regular season. The Rangers will send Dane Dunning (12-6, 3.72 ERA) to the mound, while the Mariners give the ball to George Kirby (12-10, 3.46).
Texas took some of the anxiety out of Sunday’s game, but there’s still a division to be won. The Rangers can clinch the AL West with a victory here; lose, though, and the Astros can swoop in with a win over the D-backs in Arizona.
The Mariners enter as -120 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Texas at +100. The run total is set at 7.5.
Rangers-Mariners picks: Sunday, October 1
Out: SP Max Scherzer (shoulder), SP Jon Gray (wrist)
Out: C Tom Murphy (thumb)
Dane Dunning vs. George Kirby
Dunning has had an extremely up-and-down September: He allowed 13 runs across 10.2 innings in two starts against the Astros and Mariners, but has given up three runs combined in his other three outings this month. He was dynamite earlier this week, dominating the Angels over seven three-hit innings. That inconsistency tells you a lot about his repertoire — the righty isn’t one to light up the radar gun, instead relying on great command of his sinker and slider (and his defense turning ground balls into outs).
Kirby was one of the better pitchers in the AL for most of this season, but he’s ended the year on a down note, with a mediocre 4.45 ERA over five starts this month — three of which have included four runs allowed. The righty did save his best for last, however, throwing six shutout innings in a big win over the Astros a few days ago. He threw seven scoreless innings in his only start against the Rangers so far this year.
We’ve seen five, eight and seven runs so far in this series, and I’m banking on the under again here on Sunday. Kirby was great last time out and was great in his one appearance against the Rangers this year, and there’s always the chance that we won’t see each team’s best lineup with the Mariners eliminated and the Rangers coming off a postgame celebration last night.
Pick: Under 7.5
It’s going to be awfully hard for Seattle to get up for this game after such a gut punch last night, while Texas still has everything to play for. The Mariners have the edge on the mound, but it remains to be seen how hard they’ll push Kirby in a meaningless game.
Pick: Rangers +100