The Texas Rangers (89-69) and Seattle Mariners (85-73) will kickstart the final series of their respective regular seasons tonight. First pitch for this AL West rivalry showdown is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Lefty Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.25 ERA) will get the nod for the Rangers and go up against M’s righty Logan Gilbert (13-7, 3.75).
Texas is inching closer to the division title and did exactly what it had to do when taking two of three off the Angels earlier in the week. After splitting the first two games of the series, the Rangers came strong last night in a 5-0 shutout victory. Starter Dane Dunning posted seven strong shutout innings while outfielder Adolis Garcia went 2-5 with a homer and two RBI in the win.
Seattle has not helped its postseason cause at all in the last week, dropping five of its last six including a sweep at the hands of this same Texas team last weekend. The Mariners are coming off a series loss to the Astros, one where they were only able to generate 10 runs in three games and were taken down 8-3 in last night’s finale.
Heading into tonight, Texas holds a 2.5 game lead on Houston and a four-game lead on Seattle at the top of the AL West standings. The Rangers would officially clinch a playoff berth with a win tonight and their magic number for the division crown is at two. Meanwhile, Seattle is also trailing Houston by 1.5 games for the third and final Wild Card spot in the AL. The Mariners are still technically alive for the division title due to tiebreakers, but a loss this evening would officially close that door shut for them.
Seattle enters this game as a -125 favorite on the moneyline over at DraftKings Sportsbook, making Texas the +105 underdog. The run total is set at 7.5.
Rangers-Mariners picks: Thursday, September 28
Day-To-Day: SP Jon Gray (wrist)
Out: SP Max Scherzer (shoulder), DH Brad Miller (hamstring), RP Ian Kennedy (rotator cuff)
Out: SP Marco Gonzales (elbow), RP Penn Murfee (elbow), C Tom Murphy (thumb)
Jordan Montgomery vs. Logan Gilbert
Montgomery has put together three straight quality starts for the Rangers and his most recent one came in a 2-0 shutout victory over this same Mariners team last Saturday. The southpaw went seven full innings and was a brick wall, yielding no earned runs off five hits and two walks during his start. He’s been sound on the road this season with a 2.82 ERA and a .227 opponent batting average away from home.
Gilbert was on the losing end of that matchup last Saturday, taking the loss even though he had a decent outing. He went 5.2 innings and yielded both earned runs off five hits and four walks in the setback. The young righty has not been so fortunate in the final weeks of the regular season as he’s given up 18 hits and 10 earned runs in his last three starts as the M’s have dropped each of those games.
7.5 is a low total here, but I think both starters had the capability of stepping up in this critical showdown and coming through with a quality start for their respective teams. I’ll lean with the under tonight.
Pick: Under 7.5
Texas has had the third-best OPS in baseball over the past week at .851 and I think that ability to get runners on base will allow for the team to squeak by in a low-scoring contest. The postseason is within a fingertip reach for the Rangers and I predict that they officially clinch a spot in Seattle this evening.