Week ahead: Cubs, Mariners
Here are some things to watch for:
Chicago weather: The forecast on weather.com calls for 52-degree highs with a north wind and a chance of rain for Tuesday and Wednesday. The best chance for rain is Wednesday, with a 70 percent probability. Thursday afternoon's game (1:20 p.m.) should be better with a high of 67 degrees, but there's still a 40 percent chance of rain. It could be a long three days in Chicago.
Cubs' pitching: The Rangers will face three hot Cubs pitchers. Scheduled starters Travis Wood, Carlos Villanueva and Jeff Samardzija are off to a torrid start with a 1.76 combined ERA. They've allowed 30 hits in 46 innings and are averaging a strikeout per inning. They've had tough luck with a combined 2-2 record.
Even with Mariners: The Rangers and Mariners just completed a four-games series in which both teams scored 11 runs. The teams split the series at Safeco Field with each team winning by scores of 4-3 and 3-1. The Rangers had a chance to win three out of four but couldn't rally from a 4-3 deficit in the late innings Sunday despite multiple scoring opportunities and several bench options that manager Ron Washington elected not to use.
No King Felix: The Rangers won't see Seattle starter Felix Hernandez this time around. King Felix will start Wednesday against Detroit. The Rangers beat Hernandez 4-3 on Thursday, preventing the Mariners ace from notching his 100th career victory.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.