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On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2014 season.
The Opponent: The Mariners are a different looking team than in recent years, most notably because of the addition of Robinson Cano — a legitimate heart-of-the-order hitter that the Mariners have lacked. Luckily for Texas, it won't see two of the Mariners' top pitchers.
Past Meetings: The Rangers went 12-7 against the Mariners in 2013.
Pitching Matchups: Monday — Colby Lewis* vs. Roenis Elias (0-1, 2.70 ERA); Tuesday — Robbie Ross Jr. (0-0, 1.74) vs. Blake Beavan; Wednesday — Yu Darvish (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (3-0, 2.11); Thursday — Tanner Scheppers (0-1, 7.88) vs. Erasmo Ramirez (1-2, 5.63)
*Making first start since July 2012
What's Hot: Kevin Kouzmanoff, who's manning the hot corner in Adrian Beltre's absence, is having quite the return to the bigs, hitting .417 in his previous four games. The up-and-down season of Leonys Martin continues, and right now, he's hot again, hitting .294 in his last five games after an awful stretch on the Rangers' East Coast road trip. There might not be anyone in baseball pitching as well as Yu Darvish right now. He's given up eight hits and two walks in 15 innings while striking out 15 in his two starts.
Dustin Ackley is the only Mariners player hitting over .300 in the previous week, batting at a .333 clip in his last four games. Felix Hernandez has been doing Felix Hernandez things all season, but he has traditionally struggled in Arlington. Of course, it's hard to imagine the Rangers' lineup forcing anyone to struggle these days.
What's Not: The heart of the Rangers' order, which has resulted in their recent scoring drought. Prince Fielder's yearlong struggles (12 games) continue, as he's hit just .130 in his last six games and has yet to go deep in a Rangers uniform. Alex Rios, who is batting third with Beltre on the DL, started the season on fire, but is in the midst of a 5-for-23 stretch in his last six games. Joakim Soria, the Rangers' new closer, has given up runs in two of his past three outings.
Noted Rangers killer Kyle Seager is in a rutt right now, hitting just .133 over the last five games. The Mariners have four regulars hitting under .200 over the past week.
Familiar Faces: The Rangers just claimed reliever Hector Noesi off waivers from the Mariners after he was DFA'd by Seattle. He allowed three runs in one inning of work for the Mariners this season. Dallas native and former Rangers pitcher Chris Young started Sunday's game for the Mariners. And of course, Justin Smoak, who brought the Rangers four glorious months of Cliff Lee, is still a marginal first baseman for the Mariners.