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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, September 4 (All times Eastern)
Seattle Mariners (75-63) at Texas Rangers (53-86), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Roenis Elias (9-12, 3.97) Texas - Robbie Ross Jr. (2-5, 5.63)
(Sports Network) - The Seattle Mariners have a chance to gain some ground in the American League playoff race on Thursday when they begin a four-game series with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.
Seattle enters this tilt just a half-game back of the Detroit Tigers for the AL's second wild card spot. If the Mariners intend on jumping them, though, they are going to have to reverse their recent fortunes against the woeful Rangers, who have won five of their last seven from Seattle.
The Mariners helped their cause this week, as they took two of three from the Oakland Athletics. In Wednesday's rubber match, Felix Hernandez outdueled Jon Lester in a test of staff aces and Seattle eked out a 2-1 win.
Kyle Seager and Corey Hart hit back-to-back homers off Lester in the seventh inning to give the Mariners the lead.
"We came here to win a series and that's what we did," said Hernandez. "Going against Lester I know it's going to be tough. I just had to make good pitches."
Getting the call for the Mariners on Thursday will be lefty Roenis Elias, who has lost four of his last five starts. Elias lost his third straight start on Saturday to Washington, as he allowed three runs (2 earned) and six hits in six innings, dropping him to 9-12 on the year to go along with a 3.97 ERA.
"That's the best he's been in a while -- especially in the latter stages of his outing," said acting manager Trent Jewett, who filled in for Lloyd McClendon. "Everything was working for him."
Elias has faced the Rangers three times and is 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA.
Texas, meanwhile, will counter with Robbie Ross Jr., who tossed five scoreless innings in Houston his last time out. Ross did not get a decision in that one - a 2-0 Rangers loss - and is 2-5 on the year with a 5.63 ERA.
Ross is 0-5 with a 6.69 ERA in his last eight starts since beating the Mariners on April 15 with 7 2/3 innings in a 5-0 victory.
Scott Baker had been slated to start this one, but he is dealing with a stiff neck and will pitch Friday instead.
Texas comes into this contest riding a five-game losing streak after a series sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals.
Seventeen of the Rangers' final 23 games are at home, where they are a major league worst 24-40.
09/04 10:25:45 ET