After taking two of three against the Houston Astros over the weekend, the Seattle Mariners now welcome the division-leading Texas Rangers to town with a chance to vault up the AL West standings. They’ll send ace Logan Gilbert (1-1, 4.01 ERA) to the mound on Monday night, while Texas counters with the struggling Jon Gray (1-1, 4.40). First pitch from T-Mobile Park is set for 9:40 p.m. ET.
Seattle is currently a -170 favorite on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Rangers are +145 underdogs. The run total is set at 7.5.
Rangers-Mariners picks: Monday, May 8
Out: SP Jacob deGrom (elbow), SS Corey Seager (hamstring), C Mitch Garver (knee)
Day to day: 2B Kolten Wong (wrist)
Out: SP Robbie Ray (elbow), RP Andres Munoz (deltoid), UTIL Dylan Moore (core), RP Penn Murfee (elbow)
Jon Gray vs. Logan Gilbert
Gray is coming off his worst start of the year, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk in 5.1 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The righty’s whiff and strikeout rates are way down, as batters are offering far less at his slider — a pitch that carried a 24.8% put-away rate last year but is down to just 10.9% this season. That’s forced him to rely more on his fastball, down a full mph in velocity from 2022, and hitters are teeing off on the heater to the tune of a .635 slugging percentage. Gray also doesn’t have much to attack lefties with, allowing a 2.45 HR/9 and .967 OPS so far to left-handed batters.
Gilbert has disappointed a bit after his breakout 2022 season, but a lot of that is bad luck — the righty’s strikeout rate is way up, his walk rate is down and he’s inducing more ground balls than ever. His last start was a great example: Gilbert pitched was brilliant in his first five innings against the Oakland Athletics, but back-to-back doubles added two runs to his ledger. He’s whiffed at least six batters in every start this year, and it feels like just a matter of time before his crazy-low strand rate (69.1%) and crazy-high HR/FB rate (13.3%) normalize.
The Mariners offense is slowly starting to show signs of life, and Gray just hasn’t been trustworthy enough — especially against lefties — for this number to be this low. The Rangers are scoring more runs per game than any offense in baseball, so this seems destined to hit the over even if Gilbert keeps them relatively in check.
Pick: Over 7.5
Jarred Kelenic, Cal Raleigh and Co. should feast on Gray while I think Gilbert does just enough to turn a lead over to the bullpen and give Seattle a crucial divisional win.