Previewing the Rangers-Mariners series

Apr 4, 2011, 4:35 PM | Updated: 7:47 pm

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MyNorthwest.com staff

Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and ESPNDallas.com’s Richard Durrett joined Bob & Groz on Monday to preview the Mariners-Rangers series.

The Rangers scored 26 runs and hit 11 home runs in a three-game sweep of Boston. Durrett discussed the team’s early success at the plate: “That’s going to be the Rangers’ formula this year if they’re to win the division; they’ve got to get just enough pitching to keep them in games, and let that very deep and versatile lineup collect all the runs and beat teams’ opposing pitchers over the head. That’s what they did with Boston.”

Durrett compared this year’s team to the 2010 Rangers, which won the AL pennant: “I think this team coming into this season was better than the team that came into 2010. If you look at 2010 as a whole, they got one of the best pitchers in the majors in Cliff Lee at the trade deadline, and that of course gave them a boost come playoff time. He had a huge impact, but they don’t have him anymore. They didn’t fill him with anything on the mound. But what they did do was sign Adrian Beltre to bolster their defense at third base and the cleanup spot in the lineup. They made some moves and are a similar team to last year; they’re stronger in certain areas, weaker in others, including the bullpen, and so that’s what they’re trying to sort through here in the first month to six weeks of the season to find out how it’s all going to piece together.”

Durrett discussed what the Rangers’ approach will be against Erik Bedard, who starts for the Mariners on Monday: “Their philosophy has been the same on everybody; if they get their pitches to hit, they’re going to swing at them. If that’s the first pitch of the count, so be it; if it’s the ninth pitch of the at-bat, great. That’s aggressiveness and you think it’s not patience, but really it can be both. It’s making sure you shrink your zone, your area that’s in your wheelhouse. If you get that pitch, fine; if you don’t, you don’t. They had a good mixture of that in the three games with Boston.” Listen to Richard Durrett

Rizzs discussed the matchup from Bedard’s perspective: “He’s got a tough assignment against the Texas Rangers. He’s gonna have to have that slow curveball to get these guys out on their front foot. He’s gonna have to run that fastball at 91 to 93, 94 in on their hands. … I talked to him about three weeks ago, we sat down and did an interview for about 10 minutes. He says, ‘Rick, you know what, I haven’t been this healthy in the last three years.’ And so I’m looking for a new Erik Bedard starting tonight against a real good hitting ballclub. It’s going to be an interesting matchup.” Listen to Rick Rizzs

Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times joined Brock & Salk earlier in the day and explained what he thinks was the biggest positive of the opening series against Oakland: “The biggest positive that I took out of it was that the Mariners won two out of three on the road in Oakland. We didn’t see that very often last year, definitely not against the Oakland A’s. We didn’t see them win too many series on the road period against anybody. So the fact that they were able to get it done is a huge positive. After that, I was very impressed with the work that Justin Smoak did. He went 3-for-9 and got all three hits against a left hander in all three games. That’s three left handers he was able to hit. As we know, last year one of his big problems was hitting from the right side.” Listen to Geoff Baker

You might also be interested in…

  • Brock & Salk: Justin Smoak looks good in Mariners’ opening series
  • Shannon Drayer: Mariners’ lineup for Monday’s game against Rangers

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Previewing the Rangers-Mariners series