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 avoided a nine-game losing skid and a series sweep at the hand of the Astros with a walkoff homer from noted Rangers killer Kyle Seager on Wednesday.
Past 2014 Meetings: The Mariners visited Globe Life Park last week for a four-game set and took Game 1 before dropping the next three, getting the Rangers on track for their current 8-2 mark in their last 10 games.
Pitching Matchups: Friday — Robbie Ross Jr. (1-1, 2.31 ERA) vs. Roenis Elias (1-2, 3.22); Saturday — Colby Lewis (1-1, 4.22) vs. Felix Hernandez (3-1, 2.04); Sunday — Matt Harrison (0-0, 0.00*) vs. Brandon Maurer (0-0, 2.08)
*Making first start since April 6, 2013
What's Hot: Shin-Soo Choo is blazing hot right now, unfortunately he's missed the past two games with a sprained ankle that the Rangers are hoping isn't enough to send him to the disabled list. Over the past week (5 games), he's hitting .412 with three doubles and two homers with a .476 on-base percentage. His replacement, Michael Choice, has been an on-base machine in the two games as a starter and leadoff man — a spot in the order he'd never hit professionaly prior to Tuesday. No pitcher in baseball is going better than Martin Perez right now after his second straight shutout on Wednesday to complete a sweep of the A's and run his scoreless innings streak to 26.
New addition Corey Hart was supposed to provide pop in the heart of the Mariners' lineup, and over the last week he's done that. The former Brewer is hitting .391 with a homer and two doubles. The aforementioned Seager hit two bombs on Wednesday and could be heating up to face his favorite opponent.
What's Not: Robbie Ross Jr. will look to get back on the horse to open the series against the only pitcher that beat the Rangers last week, Roenis Noesi. Ross was lit up by the White Sox in his Easter Sunday outing, but the one before that was a 7 2/3-inning scoreless outing against these same Mariners. Elvis Andrus is hitting just .192 in his last seven games, and J.P. Arencibia has lost his starting job behind the plate. He hasn't had a hit since April 6, but did have two RBI groundouts last week. So hooray for that.
Elias picked up his first major-league win last week against the Rangers, holding Texas to just one run. But since then, he's struggled again, and in his last outing allowed six runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Familiar Faces: Adrian Beltre makes his return to the Rangers' lineup after a two-week stint on the DL against one of his former teams and will face his good buddy Felix Hernandez on Saturday night. Highland Park's own Chris Young, the former Rangers pitcher who was dealt to San Diego back in the day for Akinori Otsuka, is on the comeback trail after an injury-riddled career, but the Rangers won't see him. Justin Smoak, the bait that brought Cliff Lee for four glorious months in 2010, will be the Mariners' starting first baseman and has actually fared pretty well against his former team.