(Photo credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)
The Texas Rangers made deals for two starting pitchers at the trade deadline.
Who knew that the deal for Jordan Montgomery would be just as important an acquisition as Max Scherzer?
Montgomery has gone 4-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 10 starts for the Rangers. Scherzer was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eightstarts for the team before landing on the injured list.
Montgomery will try to get the Rangers a step closer to clinching their first American League West title since 2016 when he takes the mound Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at the Seattle Mariners, who remain in the playoff race.
"He's been outstanding," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said of Montgomery. "He's throwing quality strikes with all four pitches, and he's staying in command with a good tempo out there."
The Rangers (89-69) have won seven of their past eight games, including a three-game sweep of Seattle last weekend in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers sport a 2 1/2-game lead on the second-place Houston Astros in the race for the division title.
"I haven't been thinking about it as much as trying to win the next game," Bochy said. "We'll be out there (Thursday) trying to win that game."
Texas won 5-0 Wednesday against the host Los Angeles Angels. Dane Dunning scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings and Adolis Garcia, Evan Carter and Marcus Semien homered in the victory.
The Mariners (85-73) have lost five of their past six to drop 1 1/2 games behind the Astros in the chase for the third and final wild-card berth in the AL.
"Our season is not over," Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Wednesday's 8-3 loss to Houston. "We just need help right now. It's unfortunate because just a few days ago we did control our destiny.
"We need to win the series (against Texas). There's no question about it. We can't win the series (Thursday). We can only win one game."
It will be a tall order for the Mariners, who are 1-8 against Texas this season.
Seattle's Julio Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on Wednesday. He was 0-for-9 in the series against the Astros. Rodriguez is 6-for-36 with 14 strikeouts against the Rangers this season.
Thursday's series opener will feature the same pitching matchup as last Saturday in Texas: the left-handed Montgomery (10-11, 3.25 ERA) against Mariners right-hander Logan Gilbert (13-7, 3.75).
Montgomery allowed five hits and struck out six over seven scoreless innings in the Rangers' 2-0 victory on Saturday.
"They hit the fastball really well, especially when they can get their hands extended," Montgomery said of the Mariners, against whom he's 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in two career starts. "So we tried to stay out of their honey hole as much as we could."
Gilbert went 5 2/3 innings in that game, allowing two runs on five hits with a season-high four walks.
Gilbert has lost his past two starts after winning eight consecutive decisions. He's 2-2 with a 2.87 ERA in nine career starts against Texas, with both losses coming this season.
--Field Level Media