American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, September 21st (All times eastern)
Texas Rangers (89-60) at Seattle Mariners (70-80), 10:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38) Seattle - Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39)
(Sports Network) - In the midst of playing 19 straight games against AL West foes to close out the regular season, the division-leading Texas Rangers will pay a visit to the Seattle Mariners this weekend.
The Rangers, though, will be without slugger Josh Hamilton for tonight's opener of a three-game series at Safeco Field. Hamilton is back in Texas to see the team's medical staff due to a sinus infection. The current leader in home runs with 42, Hamilton said "everybody in my family's been sick" and has experienced this problem before.
Hamilton was prescribed antibiotics by an ear, nose and throat specialist, and hasn't played since Tuesday's 11-3 road loss against the LA Angels.
"I've played through sinus stuff before. This time of the season, it matters tremendously," Hamilton told the club's website. "If we have somebody healthy who can run balls down -- (Craig) Gentry, (Leonys) Martin -- get 'em out there. I don't want to misjudge a ball out there. These are too big of games."
Texas is closing in on another AL West title and has a four-game lead ahead of the Oakland Athletics. It has won four of six games and took two of three matchups with the Angels. In Thursday's 3-1 win at the Big A, Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie and both Michael Young and Nelson Cruz had two hits and a run scored.
Beltre was battling a stomach ailment and showed no signs of discomfort.
"You can't keep him out of the lineup," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He was just saying thanks for putting him in the lineup. I said there wasn't any doubt about putting him in the lineup. I didn't want to fight him."
Yu Darvish struck out nine and gave up only one run in eight innings, while closer Joe Nathan closed the door in the ninth for his 34th save.
Rangers rookie Martin Perez will toe the rubber this evening and is 1-1 with a 3.38 earned run average in nine games (1 start). He threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings in an 8-6 loss to the Mariners on Saturday and has no record or ERA in two relief appearances against them (5 1/3 innings).
Seattle has lost four straight and nine of 12 games, and is winless in its last six contests at Safeco Field.
The Mariners were just swept in three games by Baltimore and dropped a 3-1 decision in 11 innings on Wednesday. Adam Jones hit a two-run homer off of Mariners reliever Josh Kinney in the top of the 11th, and Orioles closer Jim Johnson worked out of a jam in the bottom half for his 45th save.
Felix Hernandez fanned eight batters and walked one over eight innings, allowing just one run. Franklin Gutierrez homered in a losing cause.
"Bottom line, when you're not doing anything offensively, it just tightens the whole game up. It's tougher on the pitchers, it's tougher on you defensively, it's tougher on you from a mindset standpoint," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "That's the one area of our club that has to be better."
Seattle dropped a 4-2 decision in 18 innings on Tuesday.
Hisashi Iwakuma will handle pitching duties for the Mariners tonight and has lost back-to-back starts since going 4-0 in his previous five outings -- all Seattle wins. Iwakuma allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 9-3 loss at Texas last Friday and fell to 6-5 in 27 games (13 starts) with a 3.39 ERA.
The rookie right-hander has faced the Rangers three times (2 starts) and is 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA.
Texas is 9-7 against Seattle this season, winning three of the last four matchups between the division foes.
09/21 10:35:46 ET