One final game.
That’s all that’s left in the regular season after the Seattle Mariners were eliminated from contention Saturday night after a 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
This finale still holds import as seeding is on the line for the Rangers. They’ve already locked up a spot in the MLB playoffs for the first time since 2016, but it’s to be determined who they face and when.
A win means they capture the AL West championship and earn a first-round bye. A loss, combined with an Astros win, means the two would finish tied atop the standings but the Astros would win the bye due to a tiebreaker.
Read on for my best bet and free MLB picks for Rangers vs. Mariners on Sunday, October 1.
Rangers vs Mariners odds
Rangers vs Mariners predictions
Sunday’s matchup carries plenty of intrigue because it features two quality teams, one of whom is still fighting for playoff seeding (Rangers) while the other was eliminated last night (Mariners). It’s also a matchup that features two quality right-handed pitchers in Texas' Dane Dunning and Seattle’s George Kirby.
Dunning has been in fine form, accumulating a 2.00 ERA across his last five starts. He’s been much better on the road (3.12 ERA) than at home (4.44 ERA) this season, so he should feel comfortable as his team’s nominee as starting pitcher to help lock up the regular season divisional championship.
The Rangers have typically played in low-scoring games when the 28-year-old is on the mound for away games, cashing nine Unders in its last 12 road starts for Dunning.
He faces a Seattle lineup with a 105 wRC+ and .311 wOBA at home this season. The Mariners had their hopes dashed just last night as they were eliminated from the postseason on the penultimate day of the season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they have deflated production at the plate today.
Kirby has also been pitching well lately, posting a 2.80 ERA across his last five starts. He’s performed like an ace at T-Mobile Park this season with a superb 2.89 ERA in home games. Opponents have a scanty .248 OBP at T-Mobile and he’s racked up an impressive 89:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
One thing I’ve noticed about the Rangers this season, and that I’ve tried to incorporate in my handicapping of them as I believe it’s actionable, is that their lineup performs much better at home (126 wRC+, .360 wOBA) than on the road (104 wRC+, .321 wOBA). That’s not unusual to see for any team, but I find their contrast to be particularly stark as they go from league-best in some important categories to a fringe Top-10 unit — still good, but not as potent.
Kirby should be well-positioned to limit the damage that Texas does here as long as he brings a solid effort — which he almost always does at home.
Texas has the league’s highest BB-rate (12.7%) across its last 10 games, but that patient approach won’t bear much front against the 25-year-old hurler who avoids walks like the thought personally offends him. He leads the Big Leagues with a sterling 2.6% BB-rate — nearly a full percentage point below the next-closest starter (Zach Eflin at 3.4%).
We’ve established that this is a great starting pitching matchup in which both sides should expect a productive day from their respective hurlers. Another factor is that this contest should resemble a playoff atmosphere for Texas as it looks to clinch a bye.
That generally includes active bullpen management in an effort to limit runs at all costs — something that could prove successful against a Mariners lineup that had its season ended last night and naturally could come out flat.
My best bet: Under 8 (-120 at PointsBet)
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Rangers vs Mariners same-game parlay
This two-leg SGP is centered around my best bet on the Under. There aren’t a ton of props showing for Dunning this morning but that’s no matter — Kirby has been a wagon at home and this isn’t a bad matchup for him to record some strikeouts against a patient Rangers lineup that can wait as long as it wants without seeing many free passes anyway.
The second-year right-hander has recorded just over a strikeout per inning at home, posting 89 punchouts in 87 1/3 IP. He’s recorded 7+ in four of his last five starts at T-Mobile Park, and in the one game he fell short, he blanked the Astros across six innings.
If this is a low-scoring contest, Kirby should rack up his usual allotment of Ks at home.
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Rangers vs Mariners moneyline and Over/Under analysis
This one is lined close to a pick'em as Seattle is -120 at most books while the best comeback available on Texas is +105. The total is set at 7.5 across most books although an 8 is also showing.
I think it’s fair to make the Mariners an ever-so-slight favorite considering how good Kirby has been at T-Mobile Park. Combine that with a Rangers lineup that has a wRC+ 22 spots lower on the road than at home, and there isn’t much of a lineup advantage for either side. When looking at relief pitching, the Mariners (3.50 ERA) have a vastly superior bullpen than the Rangers (4.81 ERA).
There’s a motivational edge for Texas that is difficult to quantify in the line. Win, and Bruce Brochy’s squad secures a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Lose, and it opens the door to losing the AL West on a tiebreaker to the despised Astros.
Combine that with the fact that the Mariners had their hopes dashed less than 24 hours ago and it’s underdog or pass for this bettor. I never like to take teams coming off a season-ending loss as that’s a situational factor that I do grant some weight. The number is fair enough that I’m not rushing to the window to play the moneyline, but that’s the only way I could look in this spot.
Trend to know
The Rangers are 3-9 O/U in Dunning’s last 12 road starts. Find more MLB betting trends for Rangers vs. Mariners
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Rangers vs Mariners game info
|Location:||T-Mobile Park, Seattle, WA|
|Date:||Sunday, October 1, 2023|
|First pitch:||3:10 p.m. ET|
Dane Dunning (12-6, 3.76 ERA): The 28-year-old has made 34 appearances and 25 starts this season and has a solid ERA despite his low 19.2% K-rate and mediocre 7.6% BB-rate. His 4.48 xERA and 4.32 FIP both indicate that he may have been a bit fortunate this season, and his .285 BABIP is much lower than it was in both 2022 (.313) and 2021 (.338).
George Kirby (12-10, 3.46 ERA): Kirby has entrenched himself as a solid rotation piece despite being just 25 years old. This is the second straight year in which his ERA is in the mid-3.00s after it finished at 3.39 a year ago. His 3.85 xERA is a tad higher than his actual ERA but his 3.42 FIP is agreeable. He’s known for limiting walks and has a superbly low 2.6% BB-rate to match a respectable 22.4% K-rate.
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