No team is hotter than the Texas Rangers but there also might not be anybody who can slam a streak to a screeching halt like Felix Hernandez can. But as division rivals, the Texas Rangers and their starting pitcher Derek Holland know all about that already. And even up against King Felix, Texas opens up as a slight home favorite on Sunday.
The Rangers keep excelling with the bats as they make their push closer and closer to another October. But they sure are hoping their starting pitching can round into form and become a clearer picture for the postseason than it is at the current moment. Derek Holland returning to his prior, reliable form would be a huge step in the right direction. Holland has returned from injury in his opening day to make six starts since. Two have been terrific and two have been pretty good. But he’s allowed 10 runs combined in his last two, which have been the weakest thus far. Still, his ERA and WHIP numbers overall look good and he was still able to go 7 and 5.2 innings in those last two outings, despite the damages allowed. Throwing at home against Seattle for the third time this season may be just what he needs to get back on track with a quality start. And pitching opposite King Felix should be a little extra motivation.
After such a great start to the season with everyone calling for another Cy Young award, Hernandez has kind of lost his grip on this season – much like his Mariners team as a whole. He’s had a couple of awful starts that have put a dent in his season numbers but he’s also lacked the consistency that we’ve been used to seeing over the years. That said, he’s also shown that he still has that blow-by ability to dominate any lineup in the game and this is probably his last important start of 2015. It’s not important for Seattle, but Sunday afternoon brings an opportunity for Hernandez to spoil a divisional opponent’s chance at the playoffs. He may mail it in after this one, but I expect to see Hernandez at his best against a tough lineup in Texas.
Free Pick: Under 8.5 -120
YTD: 25-19-5 +1.49
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02