Texas Rangers (54-53) vs. Seattle Mariners (50-59) August 7, 2015 7:10 PM PST
3 Things to Watch For:
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1. There Is Only One Jesus
When Jesus Montero was acquired by the Seattle Mariners in exchange for their talented young flamethrower Michael Pineda back in January of 2012, he was the number one ranked prospect in the New York Yankees system. In his first full season as a member of the Seattle Mariners, he batted .260 with 15 homers, 62 RBI and 20 doubles in 135 games. As far as rookie seasons go, that is pretty darn solid. In 93 games for AAA Tacoma this season Montero put up a slash line of .346/.388/.551, earning the call back up to the big league club. Since the call-up, he has been excellent, looking a lot more like 2012 Jesus Montero and a lot less like 2013-2014 Jesus Montero. With a tough lefty in Cole Hamels on the mound, there won’t be too many good pitches to hit, but look for Montero to take advantage of any mistakes the veteran ace might make. I call a couple of knocks tonight for the Seattle Mariners DH.
2. Nelson Cruz Panned Out
Seattle Mariners fans can now rest at ease… The decade-long curse of under-achieving newly acquired stars has ended with Nelson Cruz, who now has 31 homers with two months left in the season. Jack Zduriencik acquired Cruz for one major reason; Power. Well, he has not dissapointed, tagging no-doubters all season. In fact, he just recently put together his second streak of five games with a homer this season. Not only has Cruz hit for power, but he has also been a staple in the middle of Lloyd McClendon‘s lineup, batting .324 in addition to his 31 homers, 67 RBI and OPS of .985. Nellie is the kind of hitter that loves facing great pitchers like Cole Hamels, and I expect him to wow the fans tonight with another deep longball.
3. Everything Hinges On The Pen
There have been a lot of things that have gone wrong for the Seattle Mariners in 2015, but if you had to pinpoint the worst phase of the ball club, it would have to be the bullpen. The pitching staff as a whole has had some struggles, but the team’s 3.97 ERA would be much lower if it weren’t for Fernando Rodney and his gang of choke-artists. Even the young Carson Smith has begun to catch the bug that’s been going around out there. The Ms were ever so close to only their second three-game sweep of the season, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a two run lead in the ninth. I say the bullpen, but what I really mean is Fernando Rodney, who is so bad that Seattle Mariners fans have now started a petition to waive or release him. By the way, you can sign the petition here. I have said it too many times this season, but if this baseball team wants to make a historic run at the playoffs, the back-end of the pitching staff needs to be able to lock it down in the late innings. They have been a bit better as of late with the exception of the hiccup on Wednesday, so I look for the pen to get their job done tonight with a scoreless effort.
Last Game’s Performance (Seattle Mariners vs. Colorado Rockies August 3, 2015): 1-2, BB
Hits: 51 Outs: 86 Batting Average: .372