The Texas Rangers will send Ryan Dempster to the mound for the finale of a three-game set against the Mariners and the last leg of a six-game west coast swing. Here’s a look at the pitching matchup against LHP Jason Vargas:
Dempster (11-7, 3.08 ERA): The veteran righty will make his 10th start of the season for Texas and hopes to bounce back from a lackluster performance in Tuesday’s 11-3 loss to the Angels. Dempster gave up five earned runs off six hits in just 3 1/3 innings. Before that, he had won five straight starts and was settling into a groove. It will be interesting to see how the vet responds to Tuesday’s outing, especially with an opportunity to be part of the playoff rotation. ... Is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three games against Seattle for his career. ... Should feel somewhat comfortable in Seattle, as his home in British Columbia is just 135 miles north up Interstate-5.
Vargas (14-10, 3.92 ERA): The 29-year-old lefty will make his American League-leading 32nd start in Sunday’s series finale. ... Was the AL pitcher of the month in July after going 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in six starts. He’s cooled down a bit since then, going 2-2 in August and 2-1 this month. ... Last start came against the Rangers last Saturday and he lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs off six hits in a no-decision. ... Will make his 13th career start against Texas and his fourth this season. ... Is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in those four starts and is 4-5 all-time against the Rangers.
Hitters: The Rangers have enjoyed seeing Vargas over the last few seasons. Four hitters -- Michael Young, Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz -- boast lifetime averages over .300 against the lefty. Young is 13-for-33 for his career, while Cruz and Napoli have combined for six homers off Vargas. ... David Murphy is 0-for-14 with four strikeouts. Adrian Beltre isn’t much better at just 1-for-15 off his former teammate. ... Brendan Ryan, a former Cardinals shortstop, has faced Dempster 16 times with a .333 lifetime batting average against him. Other than that, only five other current Mariners have faced Dempster, including veteran pitcher Kevin Millwood.