Tonight, the Texas Rangers will look to dispatch yet another potential AL West contender not named the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
And, as if fueled by the overpriced coffee that Seattle is famous for, there is quite a buzz surrounding tonight’s series opening starters.
This is what happens when The Yu comes to town. And when you pit Yu Darvish against Felix Hernandez, you’re looking at two of the most exciting right-handers in the American League if not the planet.
The King vs. The Yu is intriguing too given it’s not a particularly good matchup for either pitcher.
King Felix has struggled against the Rangers, and this is the first time Yu will have faced a team twice, and the initial visit didn’t go so well.
Normally, during a series preview, it’s extremely pertinent to, well, preview the series.
Much like a photo of Katy Perry in a bikini, with King Felix, you’re already looking at the best part of the team, so why bother going further?
The Seattle Mariners minus Hernandez are basically Katy Perry in a parka. I’m sure there are many other wonderful things about the two, but who gives a shit?
Yu Darvish vs. Seattle
In his well-chronicled debut, Darvish needed 42 pitches to get out of the first inning, and was particularly susceptible to fellow Japanese-born bats. Munenori Kawasaki (Kagoshima) was 1-3 off of Yu with an RBI, and Ichiro Suzuki (Kasugai) went a very Ichiro-like 3-4 with a double.
Hell, the Mariners lit up Darvish so well that even castaway Ranger Justin Smoak got a hit. Kyle Seagar will be the biggest out for Darvish to establish dominance tonight; the diminutive infielder went 2-3 with 3 RBI during Yu’s outing back in April.
The Seattle Mariners are batting .318 off of Darvish with 4 RBI, 4 BBs and 4 Ks.
King Felix vs.Texas
Obviously, the sample size for King Felix against the Rangers is much larger than Yu’s versus the Mariners. It’s also the only thing that Felix can claim to be bigger than anything Yu possesses.
Since Felix’s debut back in ’05, the Rangers have hit .258 with 12 homers and 45 RBI off of Seattle’s ace.
Elvis Andrus has hit him to the tune of a .349 BA with 8 RBI. David Murphy has mashed against the King, with a team-leading 10 RBI and 2 home runs, while hitting at a .310 clip.
Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler have combined for 6 home runs off of him with 10 RBI, but have also struck out 18 times against the King. Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and the aforementioned Kinsler have batted below .200 with 31 combined strikeouts against his highness, the Mariner’s Majesty.
Of Rangers regulars, Adrian Beltre has seen Felix the fewest times. He’s batting a pedestrian .222 off of him, but has a home run and 2 RBI over his 10 plate appearances.
I can guarantee that Yu Darvish will throw fewer than 42 pitches in the first inning of tonight’s game. Munenori Kawasaki had his best game of the season thus far in Yu’s first start; since then he hasn’t even been an everyday player.
Ichiro is Ichiro, so if he gets his knocks in against Darvish it should surprise no one. I’m taking Darvish to win this game, but it’s going to be a low scoring affair—mainly because the Mariners can’t hit— and the Rangers have been in a tad of a power surge. Plus, Safeco is the American League’s Petco Park in terms of being pitcher-friendly.
Here’s my imaginary line, straight-up from the fake future fool!:
Yu: 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 Ks, 2 BBs
Felix: 5 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 Ks, 1 BB
The Rangers will win 5-2. And even if I’m wrong and the Rangers lose, I’ve still got a sweet bikini pic of Katy Perry to (ahem) pick me up when I’m feeling down.