Seattle Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray is beginning to find the form that made him the 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner. In his last seven starts, the veteran southpaw is 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA.
That’s good news for the Mariners, a team aiming high on 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 Thursday’s series opener 6-5.
Texas will field right-hander Matt Bush as the 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 on April 19 in Seattle, logging six innings and giving up two runs. Life against Texas, he’s 4-1 with a 4.05 ERA in seven starts.
For the season, Ray has 123 strikeouts in 110 1/3 innings.
Rangers’ depth of rotation will now be tested with Dane Dunning on the injury list with a right ankle impingement. Dunning’s spot airs on Friday.
Bush will start the game on the hill, but he doesn’t expect to be there long. He hasn’t served more than an inning in any of his 33 games this year.
With Bush eliminated, it’s possible Rangers will turn to Taylor Hearn, who is expected to be called back from Triple-A Round Rock. Hearn was 4-5 with a 5.86 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts, for Texas before being selected to the minors on June 26.
“I don’t know how many innings he’s going to go,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said on the Rangers pregame radio show Thursday. “I don’t think we’re expecting him to play seven or eight innings, that sort of thing. Look, if he’s dominating, we’ll keep him out there for as long as we have to.”
The Rangers will now have two players in the All-Star Game. On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced that shortstop Corey Seager had been selected as a reserve to replace Blue Jays outfielder George Springer, who had opted out with a sore elbow. Seager will also compete in the Home Run Derby.
Seager will join Rangers left-hander Martin Perez in the All-Star Game. It will be a homecoming for Seager, who spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I consider it an honor,” Seager said. “Any time you can say you’re an All-Star, that’s an opportunity you want to take advantage of.”
Scorching hot and resilient, the Mariners kept things together while undermanned after three position players were suspended for their involvement in a June 26 brawl against the Los Angeles Angels.
Jesse Winker, Julio Rodriguez and JP Crawford each served suspensions. During this time span, utility player Dylan Moore was asked to play infield and outfield.
“I have a lot of credit to give to Dylan Moore,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said Wednesday. “What we asked Dylan Moore to do during this stretch was phenomenal. At shortstop, in right field, he played for Julio in midfield. He has done great work for us. A lot of people got involved.”