American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 12th
(All times eastern)
Texas Rangers (52-34) at Seattle Mariners (36-51), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Derek Holland (5-4, 5.05)
Seattle - Kevin Millwood (3-6, 3.69)
(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers come out of the All-Star breaking leading
the American League West for a third straight season, a first in the
They'll look to pad their advantage tonight in the opener of a three-game
series against the division's last-place club, the Seattle Mariners.
Though Texas is just 8-6 over its last 14 games, it still holds a four-game
edge over the Los Angeles Angels for first place and won its final two games
before the break following a season-high five-game losing streak. Many
figured the Rangers' advantage for the top spot would be bigger at this point
given its 15-4 start, but second baseman Ian Kinsler is happy with where his
club is at.
"I think if you told us that's where we were going to be at the beginning of
the season, I'm sure most of us would take that," said Kinsler. "It's been a
good first half."
Despite going 37-30 since the quick start, Texas' 52-34 record its the best in
club history after 86 games. The Rangers will try to tack on tonight behind
left-hander Derek Holland.
A stomach virus cost Holland a month of action and he returned for the first
time since June 5 on Saturday versus the Twins. He did not factor into a 4-3
win, allowing three runs over six frames while working around six hits and two
The 25-year-old has gone 5-4 with a 5.05 earned run average in 12 outings this
season, which includes mixed results versus the Mariners. He beat them at home
on April 12 with 7 1/3 frames of two-run ball, but was hammered for eight runs
on eight hits and two walks over 1 2/3 frames of a loss in a rematch at Texas
on May 30.
Holland is 6-2 with a 4.24 ERA lifetime versus Seattle in 12 games, including
Texas will hope to solve Seattle's Kevin Millwood tonight as the righty is 1-0
with a 1.06 ERA in three starts against the Rangers this year, striking out 14
over 17 innings.
Millwood lasted just 2 2/3 frames versus the Athletics on June 27 due to a
nagging groin issue, but bounced back to hurl seven scoreless frames at
Oakland on Friday. The 37-year-old scattered three hits and two walks with
seven strikeouts, but did not get a decision. That left Millwood 0-2 in seven
starts since his last win on May 23 versus the Rangers.
Millwood is 3-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 16 starts this year, one of a few bright
spots for a Seattle club that is 16 1/2 games back of first place.
Offense has been an issue as the Mariners' .230 collective batting average is
second-worst in the majors, ahead of only the Athletics (.225). They also rank
25th out of 30 teams with 337 runs scored.
"Obviously from an offensive standpoint with the position players, that's the
No. 1 area where we have to get a lot better and be more consistent," said
Mariners manager Eric Wedge.
The Rangers won 15 of 19 versus the Mariners last season, including seven of
10 in Seattle, but the clubs have split 10 encounters so far in 2012.
07/13 10:51:33 ET