Seattle Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray is starting to find the form that made him the American League’s 2021 Cy Young Award winner. In his past seven starts, the veteran southpaw is 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA.
That’s good news for the Mariners, a team riding high with an 11-game winning streak. It also creates a tough matchup for the Texas Rangers on Friday in the second of four games between the American League West rivals in Arlington, Texas.
The Mariners rallied from four down to win the series opener 6-5 on Thursday.
Texas will go with right-hander Matt Bush as an opener on Friday.
Ray (7-6, 3.51 ERA) signed a five-year, $115 million free agent deal with the Mariners after winning the Cy Young Award with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ray beat the Rangers in Seattle on April 19, logging six innings and giving up two runs. Lifetime against Texas, he is 4-1 with a 4.05 ERA in seven starts.
For the season, Ray has 123 strikeouts in 110 1/3 innings.
The Rangers’ rotation depth is being tested now that Dane Dunning is on the injured list with a right ankle impingement. Friday is when Dunning’s spot comes up.
Bush will begin the game on the mound, but he doesn’t figure to be around long. He hasn’t pitched more than one inning in any of his 33 outings this year.
After Bush exits, it’s possible the Rangers could turn to Taylor Hearn, who is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Hearn was 4-5 with a 5.86 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts, for Texas before he was optioned to the minors on June 26.
“I don’t know how many innings he will go,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said on the Rangers’ pregame radio show Thursday. “I don’t think we expect him to go seven or eight innings, anything like that. Listen, if he dominates, we’ll leave him out there as long as we have to.”
The Rangers now will have two players in the All-Star Game. On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced that shortstop Corey Seager was selected as a reserve to replace Blue Jays outfielder George Springer, who opted out to rest a sore elbow. Seager will also participate in the Home Run Derby.
Seager will be joining Rangers left-hander Martin Perez at the All-Star Game. It will be a homecoming for Seager, who spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I view it as an honor,” Seager said. “Anytime you can say you’re an All-Star, that’s an opportunity you want to take.”
The Mariners have been scorching hot, and resilient, holding things together while short-handed after three position players were suspended for their involvement in a June 26 brawl against the Los Angeles Angels.
Jesse Winker, Julio Rodriguez and J.P. Crawford each served suspensions. In that span, utility player Dylan Moore was asked to play infield and outfield.
“I’ve got to give Dylan Moore a ton of credit,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said on Wednesday. “What we’ve asked Dylan Moore to do during this stretch, it’s been phenomenal. At shortstop, right field, he’s played center field for Julio. He’s done a great job for us. A lot of guys chipping in. That’s what it takes.”
–Field Level Media