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 2013 season.
The Opponent: The Mariners allowed 24 runs to the Astros in the last two games, both of which were exactly the losses you'd expect given that parade across home plate. When you take into account the fact that the Astros scored 17 runs in their first seven games, it is looking like another long season in the Pacific Northwest.
Past 2013 Meetings: It's the first series of the year for the two teams, but last year's results provide all the reminder you need that the quality of the Mariners doesn't mean they should be taken lightly. The Rangers didn't win a series in Seattle in 2012 and their 10-9 record against the Mariners is directly related to why they had to play the Wild Card game against the Orioles instead of getting a full playoff series.
Pitching Matchups: Thursday - Justin Grimm (first 2013 appearance) vs. Felix Hernandez (1-1, 2.57 ERA); Friday - Yu Darvish (2-0, 1.98) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0, 2.57); Saturday - Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.77) vs. Joe Saunders (1-1, 3.48); Sunday - Nick Tepesch (1-0, 1.23) vs. Brandon Maurer (0-2, 16.20)
What's Hot: With Matt Harrison ailing and Derek Holland still in the inconsistency zone that he's called home for his entire career, the Darvish/Ogando combo looms large for the Rangers' chances this season. Good thing that they have broken from the gate so quickly, then, and we're looking forward to seeing what happens when they face the mediocre Seattle offense.
Felix Hernandez should be pitching for teams that challenge for titles and give him a chance to win the biggest games of the year. He's stuck in Seattle, which is unfortunate but it doesn't make him any less fun to watch.
When there's a foul ball coming your direction and you've got a beer in your hand, it would seem that there's a need to make a big decision about what to do with your hands. This Seattle fan reminds us that American ingenuity remains strong.
What's Not: To really get a turnaround underway in Seattle, the Mariners have to hit on their high draft picks. Dustin Ackley has a 282 OPS and looks no closer to breaking out than he has at any other point in his brief career, which is a pretty big miss for a team that can't afford one.
That goes double for Jesus Montero, who the Mariners have decided to move back to catcher even though his vaunted bat hasn't quite come around as expected. You can't fault the Mariners' process toward getting better offensively all that much, but the execution remains lacking.
History says Adrian Beltre will hit, so there's no need to make too much of a tepid first nine games for the third baseman. That said, if he wants to start hitting there probably won't be any complaints from the gallery.
Familiar Faces: Justin Smoak was the prize of the Cliff Lee trade way back when, something that makes you scratch your head in confusion when watching him hit. Smoak's the third of the huge prospects that have mostly underwhelmed in Seattle and going 10 games without an extra-base hit to start this year doesn't make you think the turnaround is imminent.