Monday afternoon the Seattle Mariners take on the Texas Rangers in the first of a four game series. The Mariners have won eight of their last ten games while the Rangers have gone 5-5. The Mariners right now are one game behind the division leading Houston Astros. The Astros will be taking on the Yankees in New York and the results of the game could be over or close to when the Mariners and Rangers start their game. So if the Yankees beat the Astros and the Mariners beat the Rangers the Mariners and Astros would be tied for the lead in the division.
Marco Gonzales who had an outstanding outing in his last start going seven innings will face former Mariner Doug Fister. This game will be important to both teams. The Rangers need confidence that they can get out of the cellar and the Mariners continue winning. The series against the Twins the offense struggled though they did score at important times especially late in the games however I am sure the players will want to get back to scoring runs.
Good news is that Jean Segura passed his concussion test so he should be back in the lineup Monday after missing Sunday’s game. The Mariners are expecting to have newly acquired Denard Span activated for the game. Not sure whether he will start in the game but wouldn’t surprise me at the same time. On the positive side though the offense had hard time scoring runs in the series against the Twins Ben Gamel had six hits in the series including three in Sunday’s game so he is showing the Mariners coaching staff that he still wants to start games. Both Dipoto and Servais mentioned when acquiring Span that he would play a lot though Gamel will continue to play. The Mariners will have only two days off in June so it will be important to keep all four outfielders fresh. I am sure somewhere Guillermo Heredia who has surprisingly been hitting well against righties will have a day off once in a while against a tough righty and the same would go with Mitch Haniger. Span will likely play in center field when Heredia gets a day off and Gamel will probably shift to right field when Haniger gets a day off. All four could be in the lineup if the Mariners need to give Nelson Cruz a day off. Cruz has been struggling at the plate so a day off once a week wouldn’t be a bad idea to rest him. It is nice now to have four solid outfielders where the Mariners can go with hot hands at the plate.
Dee Gordon has been taking grounders at second base and he may be activated by Thursday. At that point the Mariners will have to make a decision whether to keep Gordon Beckham or Andrew Romine as the extra infielder. Neither player is hitting well so Romine should have the advantage being with the team all season and he is available to play all positions. I hope that Dipoto can go out and get someone who can strengthen the utility position.
Besides Gonzales pitching Monday he should be followed by Felix Hernandez on Tuesday, James Paxton on Wednesday and Wade LeBlanc on Thursday. We hope that Felix can find his way through the first inning without trouble he has found himself in the last few outings. Paxton and LeBlanc both have been pitching outstanding in May so the Mariners could win three out of four games against the Rangers. What we do know that the players have to be full of confidence after their series against the Twins. Go M’s.