T-Mobile Park in Seattle always has been known as a pitcher’s park, however Mariners right-hander Chris Flexen is taking that to the extreme.
Flexen (6-3, 3.97 ERA) is scheduled to start against the visiting Texas Rangers on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.
Flexen, who was signed as a free agent after pitching last year in South Korea, is 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA in eight starts at home. On the road, he’s 2-1 with a 6.97 ERA in six starts.
“I think each outing I’ve continued to grow, to trust myself, trust my plan,” Flexen said. “For me, every time I take the ball, I just want to go out and try to win a ballgame for the team, stay on a consistent routine and try to get better each time out.”
The 27-year-old Flexen was 3-11 in three seasons with the New York Mets before going overseas.
“I’m really happy with the strides that he has taken,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He looks really comfortable. He believes he belongs. He’s a big part of our rotation now and going forward. He fits age-wise and I am surprised that he has improved as quickly as he has and what he’s done here.”
Flexen won both starts against Texas this season to improve to 3-0 with a 3.32 ERA in three career appearances versus the club. He allowed four runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 5-4 road victory on May 7 before scattering three hits over seven scoreless frames in a 5-0 win on May 27.
The Rangers are scheduled to send right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (2-7, 5.17) to the mound in the rubber game of the series.
Foltynewicz is 0-3 with a 5.75 ERA in five career appearances against Seattle, including three starts. Two of those were earlier this season, as he matched up against Flexen on May 7 but received a no-decision after allowing four runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He took the loss May 29 at Seattle despite permitting just two runs on six hits in seven innings. One of those hits was a home run by the Mariners’ J.P. Crawford that sparked a seventh-inning rally.
The Rangers snapped a 13-game skid at T-Mobile Park with a 7-3 victory Saturday night. John Hicks homered twice against his former team and Eli White added a three-run shot.
“It’s hard to put into words kind of everything that’s happened in the last few days, but obviously it’s pretty awesome,” said Hicks, who has three homers in as many games since being called up Thursday from Triple-A Round Rock.
Joey Gallo is expected to be back in the Rangers’ lineup Sunday after receiving a rare day off. The slugger’s streak of five consecutive games with a home run was snapped Friday night when he struck out three times.
“He’s obviously been really hot lately,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “As a manager, I need to do a better job and give guys a day. I wasn’t going to break the streak. But we’ve got to make sure guys make it through the season.”
–Field Level Media