MLB on Sling TV: Mariners at Rangers on ESPN; Monday's Action on FOX Sports Regional Networks

Aug 29, 2016 by Sling Staff

(all times Eastern, starters subject to change)

Seattle Mariners (Iwakuma 14-9, 3.81) at Texas Rangers (Darvish 4-3, 2.91)
8pm ET on ESPN

Hisashi Iwakuma has been the Mariners’ workhorse this year, having made 7 more starts and pitched more than 45 innings than anyone else on the staff, while enjoying his second-best season in the Majors. But it hasn’t been nearly enough, as the Mariners find themselves 8 ½ games back of the Rangers in the West, and 4 games out of the Wild Card, in a three-way tie with the Royals and the Astros. Even with Iwakuma going 6-3 over his last 9 starts with an ERA of 2.60, the Mariners managed to get no closer than 5 ½ games before going on a recent 3-game skid.

For the second year in a row, the Texas Rangers are winning the AL West with a run differential that should by all rights have them at best on the fringes of the playoff hunt. Last year the Rangers took the West by winning 88 games with a run differential of just +18, 7th-best in the AL, which should’ve translated to a record of 83-79. This year, their wizardry is even more extreme, as they’ve only outscored their opponents by a grand total of 5 runs through 131 games, which should translate to a 66-65 record – instead, they’re 77-54, the best record in the AL, and second-best in all of baseball. How are they doing it? By winning 29 of 37 1-run games, including Sunday’s 2-1 win over Cleveland. Their 29 1-run victories are the most in the AL by 8, and is responsible for almost the entirety of their 8 ½ -game lead over the Houston Astros.

And for the second year in a row, the Rangers made bigs moves at the deadline to bolster their squad. Last year it was the acquisition of Cole Hamels, who went 7-1 down the stretch to help lead them to the ALDS, and this year leads all pitchers with 5.8 WAR. This year the Rangers went out and got Carlos Beltran from the Yankees and Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers, and whole Beltran’s been a bust, Lucroy has a .930 OPS since joining the team. Add to that the return to form of Yu Darvish, who has a 2.80 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 9 walks over his last 45 innings, and you’ve got a team that’s primed for a deeper playoff run. Provided they can keep winning 1-run games.

Watch the Seattle Mariners vs. the Texas Rangers at 8pm ET Monday on ESPN by subscribing to the Sling Orange.

And here’s the action from the FOX Sports regional networks across the land…

Chicago White Sox (Shields 5-16, 5.98) at Detroit Tigers (Boyd 5-2, 3.98)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Detroit

Miami Marlins (Fernandez 13-7, 2.91) at New York Mets (Montero 0-0, 11.57)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports Florida

Minnesota Twins (Santiago 10-8, 5.16) at Cleveland Indians (Bauer 9-6, 3.88)
7:10pm ET on FOX Sports North & SportsTime Ohio

Tampa Bay Rays (Adriese 6-5, 3.71) at Boston Red Sox (Porcello 17-3, 3.23)
7:10pm ET on Fox Sports Sun

St. Louis Cardinals (Martinez 12-7, 3.13) at Milwaukee Brewers (Davies 10-6, 4.06)
7:20pm ET on FOX Sports Midwest & FOX Sports Wisconsin

Seattle Mariners (Iwakuma 14-9, 3.81) at Texas Rangers (Darvish 4-3, 2.91)
8:05pm ET on FOX Sports Southwest

New York Yankees (Pineda 6-10, 5.02) at Kansas City Royals (Gee 5-7, 4.55)
8:15pm ET on FOX Sports Kansas City & YES

Cincinnati Reds (Straily 10-6, 3.57) at Los Angeles Angels (Shoemaker 8-13, 3.98)
10:05pm ET on FOX Sports West

Watch baseball on FOX and FOX Sports Regional Networks by subscribing to the Sling Blue.

All stats courtesy of ESPN and Baseball Reference

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