MLB Betting: Rangers at Seattle Mariners

By: Jimmy Sirody | Friday, September 17, 2010
Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee faces his former teammates Saturday when Texas plays the M’s.

With their magic number at eight, the Texas Rangers begin a 10-game West Coast trip, from which they could bring home a nifty souvenir; their first American League West pennant since 1999.

The next 10 days figure to be a pleasure cruise for the red-hot Rangers, who have won seven straight and sport a double-digit division lead with 17 games to play.

Texas opened a three-game set against the Seattle Mariners on Friday before heading on to Anaheim for three games and finishing up at Oakland.

The Rangers seemed to be going through the motions at the beginning of September when they lost six of seven.  But that was before sweeping three at home from the New York Yankees to erase any doubts that Ron Washington’s crew will be a factor in the postseason.

Texas has been rolling offensively during this hot streak, hitting .318 with 51 runs scored in its last seven games.

Conversely, the Mariners are in complete disarray, having lost seven straight while scoring a grand total of 18 runs.

The Rangers send Cliff Lee (11-8, 3.28) to the hill on Saturday to face his former mates for the first time this season. The big southpaw returned from a 12-day break caused by lower back pain to dominate the Yankees on Sunday.

Lee figures to do the same against Seattle. He has won nine of 10 career decisions against the anemic M’s with a 3.28 ERA.

Hard-luck Jason Vargas (9-10, 3.62) gets the ball for the M’s. The young left-hander has emerged as Seattle’s No. 2 starter this season and is much better than his sub-.500 record indicates.

The Mariners have scored three runs or less in 14 of Vargas’ last 17 starts. He beat the Rangers at Safeco Field on August 3 when he allowed two runs and three hits in six innings. Texas roughed him up at home in early April in Arlington. Vargas has won seven of 11 decisions at home with a 2.58 ERA.

The Rangers have won 11 of their last 15 when facing teams with a losing home record. However, they have come up short in five of their last seven on the road and in eight of their last 11 against lefties. They are also 1-5 in Lee’s last six starts, both overall and on the highway.

Seattle has floundered in 11 of its last 13 when facing a southpaw at home. The M’s have failed to cash in Vargas’ last five starts. They have lost 16 of their last 21 on Saturday as well.

Texas has won five of its last six against Seattle and five of six at Safeco Field.

The MLB odds ‘under’ is 5-2-1 in the past eight meetings in the Great Northwest. The Rangers have ducked ‘under’ at a 13-5-3 clip versus division foes. The Mariners have strayed below the number at a torrid 21-7-1 pace versus southpaws and they have dipped ‘under’ in six of Vargas’ last seven home outings.

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