The Mariners like what they see so far out of rookie starter Roenis Elias. The Rangers have seen plenty over the years from Colby Lewis and just want to see the same old guy in his first outing in almost two years.
When the two clubs meet Monday night in Arlington in the opener of a four-game set, with a first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. CT, the storylines will revolve around this unlikely pitching duel.
Elias, a Cuban left-hander who made the Mariners out of Spring Training after pitching in Double-A last season, fared well in his last start, giving up two runs over five innings against the Angels. But Seattle's offense could only muster one hit against Los Angeles and starter Garrett Richards and was shut out.
Still, Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said he was encouraged by Elias, who also pitched well in his Major League debut, a five-inning, one-run effort against Oakland on April 3.
"I think he should come away from this outing feeling good about himself," McClendon said. "He pitched pretty darn good tonight. He just ran into a guy that was a little better, but in no way was I disappointed with his outing. I look forward to his next start."
And the Rangers look ahead to Lewis' start on Monday, because it's been far too long since the right-hander plied his trade for Texas.
Lewis will be making his first appearance in the Major Leagues since July 18, 2012. The Rangers are expected to option pitcher Daniel McCutchen back to the Minor Leagues to clear a roster spot for the veteran, who underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow on July 27, 2012, and had hip replacement surgery on Aug. 22, 2013. But Rangers manager Ron Washington said Lewis won't be on a strict pitch count.
"Just a normal game," Washington said. "He'll let us know when we have to go and get him."
Lewis' last outing came on April 6 when he pitched five innings for Triple-A Round Rock and allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Lewis had an 8.00 ERA in four Cactus League games in Spring Training and said he is ready to go.
"I'm not concerned about anything," Lewis said. "During Spring Training, I proved I can get up and down. There is nothing limiting me physically."
Mariners: Smoak's D opening eyes
It's early in the season, but first baseman Justin Smoak has made all the plays at first base. He's been so good, in fact, that his manager is already making bold statements about him.
"I think he's a Gold Glove-type of first baseman," McClendon said. "I think the reason he has probably not won a Gold Glove to this point is his offensive numbers have not been there. I've always said that Gold Gloves are more an offensive award than a defensive award. If you look at first basemen in the league, I think he's as good as any of them.
"For me, it's routine with him. I probably take it for granted because he's so good around the bag. He's definitely a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman. Once he gets those offensive numbers up, he'll be recognized."
Rangers: Beltre headed to DL
The Rangers announced prior to Sunday's game that the club placed third baseman Adrian Beltre on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 9, with a strained left quadriceps muscle. Texas added right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi to the active roster.
Beltre has not played since making an early exit from a game on Tuesday at Boston with the quad injury. He is batting .286 with three doubles, no home runs, and four RBIs in eight games with Texas this season. The first date he would be eligible to return is April 24, which is an off-day for the team.
• Third baseman Kyle Seager is off to a slow start for the Mariners, but he always seems to do well against the Rangers. In 47 games against the Rangers, Seager is hitting .322 with 30 runs scored, 20 doubles, eight home runs and 26 RBIs. He has a .377 on-base percentage and a .563 slugging percentage in those 47 games.
• The Rangers were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position on Sunday afternoon and have just three hits in their last 40 at-bats in those situations. The Rangers also have just five home runs in 12 games, second fewest in the American League. They have yet to hit more than one home run in a game.