Final Stretch: Mariners 7, Rangers 5

Baseball is so predictably unpredictable.

You could probably see it coming from a mile away. The day after the Rangers second team exploded for 22 hits and 16 runs in a game started by Oakland’s ace, this time the Rangers starters lost to one of the lowest starters for one of the worst teams in the American League, the Seattle Mariners.

This is what can happen in the last week of a season when the division title is already sewn up. And that might be a good thing.

While I hate seeing my team lose, it doesn’t bother me as much when I read an ESPN: The Magazine article saying teams with winning momentum don’t usually keep it going during the playoffs. So go ahead and lose, Rangers, as long as it means you’re ready for anything come next Tuesday (or Wednesday) when Game #1 of the ALDS begins.

Actually, there’s a possibility for the lowly Mariners to sweep the Rangers in Arlington this week. That’s because the starters the next two nights are the Rangers #1 and #2 pitchers… at the start of the 2010 season. Yes, in order to get the playoff pitching in the right order, Tuesday and Wednesday nights’ starts will be handled by Scott Feldman and Rich Harden.

Feldman’s last outing was last Thursday against the A’s, when he gave up a run in two innings of work. His last start was at the end of July. Ron Washington hasn’t seen fit to put Harden into a ballgame since allowing a run on two hits in only 2/3 of an inning against the Yankees September 11th. So low has he sunk in the Rangers eyes, this will be only his third appearance since August 23rd.

Feldman vs. Felix Hernandez. Harden vs. Jason Vargas. Of course, as predictably unpredictable as baseball is, watch one of those two Rangers throw a complete game shutout. Somehow it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.