Fresh off home sweep, Rangers welcome Mariners

MLB Baseball

It seems the Texas Rangers are quickly becoming accustomed to their new ballpark.

The Rangers, who just completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels to improve to 5-3 at home, open a series against the Seattle Mariners on Monday night at Globe Life Field.

Rangers right-hander Kyle Gibson (0-1, 2.45 ERA) will look to keep things rolling. He’s is 4-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 10 career starts against Seattle.

Gibson went six innings in his last start, allowing three runs on four hits with nine strikeouts, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead in a 6-4 defeat to Oakland.

“The worst thing you can do right now is put too much pressure on yourself over one game,” Gibson said of the Rangers’ relievers.

“As a bullpen, you can’t feel like you have to be perfect. You can’t feel like you are going out there for Game 7 of the World Series every time. You’ve got to keep everything in perspective. You have to minimize the pressure and importance of one game.”

The Rangers have shuffled their bullpen since Gibson’s last start. Jonathan Hernandez has become the eighth-inning setup man ahead of closer Rafael Montero, who earned his first save on Friday by striking out Mike Trout to cap a 4-3 victory.

“It’s huge,” Rangers third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa said after Friday’s win. “Any time you can swing momentum upward, it’s a big deal, especially coming off that road trip, coming home and being comfortable means a lot.”

The Rangers made use of a rare four-base error to beat Los Angeles 7-3 on Sunday.

A ball hit by Nick Solak in the fifth inning popped out of the glove of Angels rookie outfielder Jo Adell and over the fence. Solak was originally credited with a home run until the official scorer checked with the Elias Sports Bureau.

It brought to mind Jose Canseco who, 27 years ago while playing for the Rangers, had a ball hit off the top of his head and over the wall. That was scored a home run.

“I think I deserve a home run for sure,” said Solak, who still had two hits and scored three runs. “You know, you think like the Canseco play, I don’t even know how that was scored, hopefully a home run.

“But as a hitter I’m always kind of, if I was a scorer, I’d always err on the side of giving guys more hits. But that’s me personally, so I don’t know.”

The Mariners, who are opening an eight-game trip, will send rookie right-hander Justin Dunn (0-1, 6.43 ERA) to the mound in search of his first major league victory. Dunn will be making his first appearance against the Rangers.

The Mariners snapped a three-game skid with a 5-3 victory against visiting Colorado on Sunday, as left-hander Justus Sheffield earned his first big league win with six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said he hopes Sheffield’s victory can guide the team’s other unproven pitchers.

“Even though we’re young and we’re inexperienced, the game is still the game,” Servais said. “And the quicker that we can get our guys to trust their stuff early in the count – I don’t care who’s in the batter’s box.”

“The reason our young guys are here is they’re very talented, and we’ve got to get them experience. But they’ve got to get the right mindset when they take the mound or get in the box, and that is about controlling the line of scrimmage, controlling the strike zone,” Servais said.

–Field Level Media

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