Texas Rangers: Hisashi Iwakuma

W2W4: Rangers vs. Mariners

September, 4, 2014
Sep 4
The Texas Rangers begin a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

What's up with the Mariners?: Seattle (75-63) is just a half-game back of the second wild-card spot in the AL. The Mariners are in the midst of a seven-game road trip and lost two of three the last time they faced the Rangers. Seattle is 27-17 vs. left-handed pitching and has won five of the last seven against southpaws. In this series, the Mariners will face left-handers Robbie Ross and Derek Holland. It's the first time Seattle will take on a lefty since Aug. 20. Fernando Rodney is tied for third in the AL with 41 saves. Robinson Cano is fifth in batting average (.321) and fourth in hits (163).

What's up with the Rangers?: They've lost five consecutive games heading into a 10-game, 11-day homestand, which ties their longest stretch at home of their season. Daniel Robertson is hitting .346 with five doubles since Aug. 22. Elvis Andrus leads the team with 25 stolen bases, and Ryan Rua's had two hits Wednesday for his first mult-hit game of his career. The Rangers have used a MLB-record 61 players this season. Ross, who didn't allow a hit through five innings in Houston last week, was switched with Scott Baker (neck strain) in the rotation and will pitch Thursday. The Rangers went 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position in the three-game set vs. Kansas City.

Darvish's season over?: Rangers ace Yu Darvish will undergo an examination on his right elbow Thursday. Darvish hasn't pitched since Aug. 9 at Houston where he lasted just four innings, allowing six runs (five earned) in a loss. It's doubtful Darvish will return this season.

Do it for Durrett: A benefit concert for former ESPNDallas.com Rangers beat writer Richard Durrett, who passed away in June, will be held Saturday at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth. The benefit will raise money for his wife and three kids. For more information go here.

Pitching matchups: Thursday: LHP Robbie Ross (2-5, 5.63) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (9-12, 3.97); Friday: RHP Scott Baker (3-3, 5.23) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (13-6, 2.90); Saturday: RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.14) vs. Chris Young (12-7, 3.46); Sunday: LHP Derek Holland (0-0, 1.29) vs. LHP James Paxton (5-1, 1.91).

Hot Stove Talk: Masahiro Tanaka

November, 11, 2013
Note: This is part of our Hot Stove Talk series, which profiles free agents and looks at possible trades the Texas Rangers could make this offseason.

Today's player: Masahiro Tanaka

The Rangers would love to pair another front-line starter with Yu Darvish, and there is an opportunity to go back to Japan for that pitcher. His name is Masahiro Tanaka.

Much will be said about Tanaka in the coming weeks. Unnamed scouts will say he's better than Darvish. Others will say he's not. It's up to the Rangers and other clubs bidding for Tanaka to decide if he's worth $100 million or even more two years after the Rangers spent $110 million on Yu Darvish. Well spent dollars we might add.

Tanaka had a superb regular season in Japan, going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan's Nippon Professional baseball league. One American League scout that covers the Pacific Rim said Tanaka has one of the best split finger fastballs he's ever seen. Tanaka is a strike thrower.

But overall Tanaka isn't considered to have the talent or the flair of Darvish. Do the Rangers put up big dollars for another Japanese pitcher and get involved in the posting system and the bidding war that could ensue. That's a decision general manager Jon Daniels and Co. will have to make in the coming days and weeks.

Why he makes sense: The Rangers signing of Darvish has been a success and Tanaka looks to be another talented pitcher who should do well in the major leagues. The success of Hiroki Kuroda and Hisashi Iwakuma also lends credibility to the ability of Japanese pitchers to make the transition to the big leagues where lineups are deeper. Tanaka to go with Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison would give the Rangers one of the top rotations in baseball.

Why he doesn't make sense: The bidding for Tanaka could and likely will be higher than for Darvish. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks are considered to be potential suitors. Tanaka is considered to be a No. 3 starter -- maybe a No. 2. That could be to high a price to pay when a No. 1 starter, such as David Price, is expected to be on the trade market.

Bottom line: The Rangers should pass on Tanaka and go after Price. From the talk in the media, it appears the price will surpass what they paid for Darvish. The Rangers would be better off spending their free-agent dollars on offense.

Darvish is AL Cy Young finalist

November, 5, 2013
Yu Darvish's second season in the major leagues has earned respect of Cy Young voters.

Darvish is one of three finalists for the 2013 American League Cy Young Award, announced Tuesday night by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Darvish is a finalist along with countryman Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners and Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers. The AL Cy Young winner will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Darvish led the big leagues with 277 strikeouts and had a 13-9 record with a 2.83 ERA. He led the majors with 11.32 strikeouts per nine innings and had an AL-best .194 opponents batting average.

Darvish was one of three finalists for last year's AL Rookie of the Year award won by outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

August, 27, 2013
The Texas Rangers continue their three-game series at Seattle with left-hander Derek Holland opposing Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday night at Safeco Field.

Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's status as an ace, Matt Garza's struggles and more.

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Holland (9-6, 2.95 ERA): The 26-year old seeks to round out his outstanding August in his fifth start of the month. He is 1-0 with a 1.67 ERA, allowing just five earned runs in 27 innings. Two of his four starts this month have been scoreless outings, including a start against Seattle in Arlington. He allowed two hits and three walks while striking out six Mariners on Aug. 16 in a no-decision. That was the fourth start in Texas history in which a pitcher lasted at least seven innings, allowed no runs on two or fewer hits, and did not get the win. … Opponents are batting just .170 against him in August, with 27 strikeouts in those 27 innings. … His ERA was 3.18 to begin August -- now it is the sixth-lowest in the American League and his lowest since June 6. ... His 19 quality starts leads Texas and is tied for fourth in the AL … He is starting on an extra day’s rest after his latest no-decision, the Rangers’ walk-off win last Wednesday against Houston. Holland allowed four hits and two earned runs in six innings in that start. … He is 7-1 with a 2.74 ERA in 13 road starts, and is unbeaten in his past 10 away from home. … In 16 career games (12 starts) against Seattle he is 8-2 with a 3.08 ERA.

Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98): Seattle’s other All-Star pitcher -- along with Felix Hernandez -- ranks eighth in the AL in ERA, is fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.55:1) and second in WHIP (1.01). … Alert to Rangers’ hitters: The 32-year-old Iwakuma has allowed 14 home runs in his past 12 starts, and his 24 home runs allowed are seventh-most in the AL and lead the Mariners. … He is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA against Texas this season after getting the win Aug. 16 in that no-decision of Holland’s in Arlington. … He allowed five hits and four earned runs in six innings of a loss July 4 at Texas, and surrendered five hits and two runs in eight innings of a May 26 victory over the Rangers.

Hitters: Adrian Beltre (.421, 8-for-19, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs) and Ian Kinsler (.353, 6-for-17, 3 solo HRs) have had the most success of any Ranger against Iwakuma. Craig Gentry (3-for-6) has done well against him in more limited faceoffs. Kyle Seager (.316, 6-for-19) is the only Mariner batting above .280 against Holland. The current Mariners are batting .189 with a .242 on-base percentage against him.

Extra Bases: Schedule won't decide West

August, 27, 2013

Much is being made of the Rangers' easy schedule in August and a difficult stretch that Oakland is navigating its way through.

And how that flips over in September, when the A's have it easier than a Rangers team they are chasing once again in the American League West.

The Rangers missed an opportunity to extend their AL West lead over the weekend. Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss the state of the Rangers heading into the final stretch of the season.

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None of this matters when you're winning.

Oakland opened a four-game series it was supposed to be dreading Monday night with an 8-6 victory over American League Central-leading Detroit. The A's are 2-2 on a road trip against playoff contenders Baltimore and Detroit, teams that are a combined 35 games over .500.

That put the pressure on the Rangers to hold serve on the West Coast on Monday night and Texas produced an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners to keep its 2 1/2 game lead in the AL West.

The Rangers are 2-2 on a road trip against the Chicago White Sox and Seattle, teams that start Tuesday a combined 34 games below .500.

So far it's a push and advantage Oakland.

Here's the catch: Both the Rangers and the A's are good enough to beat any team on their schedule.

That explains Oakland beginning its series against Detroit in winning fashion. It explains how the Rangers were able to survive a treacherous stretch in June against the Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds by winning each series.

Yes, by all means beat up on the bottom dwellers. But wins against the top teams count the same, and in the end do more damage in a division race.

WHAT'S UP NOW: Rapid Reaction from Monday's 8-3 victory over Seattle. Plus a post-game blog on Travis Blackley holding his own against his former team.

ON DECK: The Rangers send left-hander Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95) to the mound against Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98) at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Did Blackley earn another start Sunday night against the Minnesota Twins?

W2W4: Rangers vs. Mariners

August, 26, 2013
Texas Rangers (75-55, first place/AL West) vs. SEATTLE MARINERS (59-69, third place/AL West)

Monday: LHP Travis Blackley (1-1, 4.85) vs. LHP Joe Saunders (10-12, 4.91), 9:10 p.m.

Tuesday: LHP Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98), 9:10 p.m.

Wednesday: LHP Martin Perez (7-3, 3.62) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (12-7, 2.63), 2:40 p.m.

The Rangers missed an opportunity to extend their AL West lead over the weekend. Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss the state of the Rangers heading into the final stretch of the season.

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Here's what to watch for in this season's final series between Texas and Seattle:

Divisional nemesis: The Rangers are 9-7 this season against Seattle. It feels like they have a losing record against the Mariners. Seattle has won the past two series between the teams, both of them coming in Arlington. The Rangers are 4-3 in Seattle, taking two out of three in their most recent series at Safeco Field with Justin Grimm and Holland picking up the wins.

Mariners' offense hits skids: The Mariners, who were swept over the weekend by the Los Angeles Angels, have scored two runs since the ninth inning of their game Wednesday at Oakland. They went 16 innings without scoring until the seventh inning of Saturday's game against L.A., a 5-1 loss. The Mariners were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position for the three-game series against the Halos. Seattle is batting .192 with runners in scoring position in its past seven games.

Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's status as an ace, Matt Garza's struggles and more.

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Felix, Iwakuma again: The Rangers aren't dodging Seattle's two best pitchers this season. The Rangers will face Iwakuma and Hernandez on Tuesday and Wednesday, making it 10 out of 19 games in the season series in which they have faced the Mariners' 1-2 punch. Texas has a 4-4 record in the games those pitchers have started. Iwakuma has proved the bigger pain -- he is 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA and has averaged seven innings pitched in his four starts against the Rangers. King Felix is 0-3 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against Texas. Can the Rangers get him again?

M's versus lefties: The Rangers will throw three lefties at the Mariners with Blackley, Holland and Perez getting starts against Seattle. The Mariners are 19-22 against southpaws, compared with 40-47 versus right-handers. Seattle is 4-6 in games that lefties have started since the All-Star break. The Mariners are batting .230 with 43 home runs against southpaws. Holland is 1-0 with a 0.92 ERA against Seattle this season with two tough-luck no-decisions.

Miller starts strong: Mariners shortstop Brad Miller has an unorthodox swing -- almost out of the Ichiro Suzuki mold -- but he's been pretty good as a rookie. Miller has multihit games in 19 of his 49 games. He and Tampa Bay's Wil Myers are tied for first among American League rookies with 53 hits. Miller leads the AL rookie class with 19 extra-base hits. He is batting .291 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his past 20 games.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

August, 16, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers open a three-game series against Seattle on Friday night with left-hander Derek Holland facing Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on Ch. 21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and ESPN Deportes Dallas 1540 AM.

ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly segment to discuss the Rangers and MLB replay.

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Holland (9-6, 3.07): Holland has eight quality starts in his last nine outings as he continues his most consistent season of his career. ... He is 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA in that span. ... Holland took a no-decision in the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Astros on Saturday, allowing three earned runs in six innings. ... Holland has gone seven innings or more and has allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his 24 starts. ... He has allowed more than four earned runs only once all season. ... Holland is in the top 10 in the American League in ERA (ninth), strikeouts (7th, 151) and innings (9th, 161.0). ... He is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA for two starts against Seattle this season. ... He has eight out of 11 quality starts against the Mariners. ... Holland is 2-5 with a 3.48 ERA for 11 starts at home this season.

Iwakuma (10-6, 3.02): Iwakuma tweaked his back in the seventh inning of his start Sunday against Milwaukee, but he'll be out there against the Rangers. ... He matched his worst start of the season against the Brewers, allowing six runs in 6 2/3 innings. ... Iwakuma allowed a season-high nine hits. ... Iwakuma is eighth in the AL in ERA and sixth with 164 innings pitched. .... He is 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA for 11 road starts. ... Iwakuma is 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA against the Rangers this season. ... He allowed four earned runs in five innings and suffered the loss in his only start at Rangers Ballpark in July.

Hitters: Ian Kinsler (6-for-15, 3 HRs, 3 RBIs) and Adrian Beltre (6-for-17, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs) have done damage against Iwakuma. Kyle Seager (6-for-17, 1 HR, 2 RBIs) has hit well against Holland and most of the Rangers' pitchers.

Matchup: Martin Perez vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

July, 4, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners finish a three-game series Thursday night when left-hander Martin Perez faces M's right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest, and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and ESPN Deportes Dallas 1540 AM.

ESPN senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.

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Perez (2-1, 2.37): The Rangers turn to 22-year-old Martin Perez to salvage a win in their three-game series against Seattle. … Perez has thrown 11 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. … He blanked the Cincinnati Reds for 6 2/3 innings Friday. … Perez's changeup has been his key pitch, helping to keep hitters off balance for 13 ground-ball outs. … He allowed six hits and walked one against the Reds in a 4-0 victory. … Perez is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in his two starts since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock. … He is 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA for 9 1/3 innings against the Mariners.

Iwakuma (7-3, 2.42): Iwakuma leads the American League in ERA and has pitched well against the Rangers. … He has allowed four earned runs in each of his last three starts, raising his ERA from 1.79 to 2.42. … He gave up four runs in eight innings in a no-decision against the Chicago Cubs. … Iwakuma is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA for his last three starts and hasn't won since June 10. … He's allowed five home runs in his last two games. … He has a 1-0 record and a 1.84 ERA in two starts against Texas this season, both coming at Seattle's Safeco Field. … He is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers.

Hitters: The current Mariners are 2-for-17 against Perez with a double by Justin Smoak. Ian Kinsler (6-for-12, 3 HRs, 3 RBIs) and David Murphy (5-for-15, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) have had success against Iwakuma. Jurickson Profar also has a home run against the Japanese right-hander.

Bowden: Iwakuma longshot trade possibility?

May, 31, 2013
On Thursday, ESPN.com contributor Jim Bowden threw out an interesting "darkhorse" trade candidate for the Texas Rangers. He was asked, on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Fitzsimmons and Durrett show about possible starting pitchers who could be available come July 31. And he gave a surprising possibility: Hisashi Iwakuma. Bowden admits it's a deep sleeper, but threw it out there anyway.

ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss former Ranger Chris Davis' hot streak, Ian Kinsler's injury, Jurickson Profar's performance and some trade possibilities for the Rangers.

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I'll be honest: I can't see the Seattle Mariners parting with Iwakuma. But what if the Rangers blew them away with a prospect package? Could they make them at least think about it?

First, let's look at Iwakuma's contract. He is making $6.5 million this year, $6.5 million next year and the contract includes a club option for $7.5 million in 2015 (there's also a $1 million buyout on that option). Iwakuma could make $1.1 million in incentives during the life of the contract.

So the fact that Iwakuma is under team control for potentially 2 1/2 seasons would certainly intrigue the Rangers. But it also adds to what it will cost to get him. He's 32 years old and is 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts. He has 69 strikeouts to 11 walks and a 0.84 WHIP. He's third in the AL in ERA, first in WHIP and tied for sixth in innings pitched. He's pitched like an All-Star and top-flight pitcher so far.

Chris Davis joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his hot start to the season with Baltimore, if he could have found his groove with the Rangers and the difference between Ron Washington and Buck Showalter.

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Imagine how he would look at the top of the rotation with Yu Darvish. No, this isn't the top of deal that includes Jurickson Profar. That won't happen. But the Mariners would have to get some young pitching in return, along with some bats that could produce for them in the future, I would think. What might that include?

It wouldn't shock me if they insisted on something at the big league level now. Perhaps Justin Grimm, for instance? If Mike Olt returns to Double-A Frisco and starts hitting to increase his value, he could be an option as well. What about Joey Gallo or Lewis Brinson? Seattle needs bats and both of those young players have high ceilings. Gallo's season average has dipped to .211, but he's shown good power with 13 homers and 27 RBIs for Class A Hickory. Brinson, a center fielder, is also in Hickory and hitting .235 with 10 homers and 21 RBIs. He's got seven stolen bases, but has also struck out 84 times in 196 at-bats.

Is Alexi Ogando in this discussion? I'd include him if that's what it took. There are others, I'm sure, that could factor in.

Sure, it's a real long shot. But since Bowden brought it up, why not talk about it? What kind of package would you put together for Iwakuma? Remember, you've got to entice the Mariners to move a pitcher who has a favorable contract, so it's got to be a really good package that helps them now and in the future.

Matchup: Nick Tepesch vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

May, 26, 2013
The Rangers go for the sweep in Seattle when rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch opposes Mariners right-hander Hishasi Iwakuma on Sunday afternoon at 3:10 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.

Tepesch (3-4, 3.98): Tepesch was scratched from his start Wednesday against Oakland because of a blister on his right middle finger ... His last start came in a 2-1 loss to Detroit ... Tepesch had a stretch in April of 20 1/3 innings without a walk ... The Rangers are 4-4 in his starts ... He has scuffled in May with a 1-3 record and 5.40 ERA for the month ... Still Tepesch is second among American League rookies with three wins, trailing only teammate Justin Grimm, who has four wins ... Tepesch is third in the AL with 31 strikeouts ... He has received two runs-or-less of run support in five of his eight starts ... Tepesch has faced the Mariners twice already, going 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA ... he made his second big league start against Seattle on April 14 in Safeco Field, taking the loss despite taking a lead into the sixth inning ... He allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Iwakuma (5-1, 2.37): Iwakuma tries to end the Mariners' eight-game losing streak ... The 32-year-old right-hander makes his 11th start this season and 27th of his major league career ... Iwakuma is fourth in the American League with a 2.37 ERA and a .194 opponent batting average ... He leads the AL with a 0.87 whip ... Iwakuma had a rough time in his last start against Cleveland, allowing five earned runs in six innings ... He had allowed only 12 earned runs in first nine starts ... He earned his fifth win May 15 at New York Yankees ... Iwakuma is 2-2 with a save and a 4.33 ERA against the Rangers.

Hitters: Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager has three hits in four at-bats against Tepesch. Rangers left fielder David Murphy has 5 hits in 12 at-bats with a home run and three RBIs.

Rapid Reaction: Mariners 3, Rangers 1

April, 13, 2013
Yu Darvish struggled early, giving up three runs in the first inning, and the Rangers couldn't rally in a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night at Safeco Field.

Rough beginning: Darvish hit Jason Bay with one out in the top of the first, and the inning unraveled from there. Darvish gave up singles to Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez. But the big blow came from Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager, who has owned Darvish early in his big league career. Seager came up with his fifth hit in 11 at-bats against Darvish, drilling a two-run double to give Seattle a 3-0 first-inning lead.

ESPN Insider Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of the Rangers trading Jurickson Profar.

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Darvish settles down: Darvish, who has been dealing with a blister issue, followed his tough first with five no-hit innings. He had eight strikeouts and a walk. Darvish has a 2.75 ERA in three starts, but he lost for the first time Friday night.

Kinsler goes deep again: Ian Kinsler upped his team lead in home runs to four for the season with a solo shot in the top of the fourth. Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma retired the first nine batters he faced before Kinsler's homer. Kinsler took advantage of the new dimensions of Safeco Field, just clearing the left-field wall, which was moved in during the offseason.

Sixth-inning blues: Kinsler gave the Rangers a chance to scratch out a run trailing 3-1 in the top of the sixth. He ripped a single, stole second and moved to third on Elvis Andrus' ground ball to the left side. The rally died there. Lance Berkman, who had strikeouts in his first two at-bats, popped up to third base. Adrian Beltre, who is struggling to drive in runs, popped up to second base to end the inning.

Berkman struggles: Lance Berkman, who has been the Rangers' hottest hitter, had a night to forget. He struck out in his first two at-bats, then popped up on the infield in his other two at-bats. Berkman's batting average dropped below .400 to .394 on the season.

Not clutch: The Rangers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. They had a runner in scoring position in each inning from the fifth to the eighth and couldn't break through.

Focus on CF: Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry both had chances to plate runs in the fifth and seventh innings after singles by A.J. Pierzynski and walks by Mitch Moreland. Martin grounded out to second base, and Gentry was called out on strikes after fouling off two hittable fastballs.

Up next: The Rangers and Mariners will play Game 3 of their four-game series at 8:10 p.m. Saturday night. Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.77 ERA) will face Joe Saunders (1-1, 3.48 ERA) on Fox Sports Southwest.

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

April, 12, 2013
The Rangers try to make it two wins in a row Friday night when they send right-hander Yu Darvish to the mound against Seattle right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma in a battle of Japanese pitchers at Safeco Field. First pitch is at 9:05 p.m. on Ch. 21 and ESPN-FM 103.3.

ESPN Insider Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of the Rangers trading Jurickson Profar.

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Darvish (2-0, 1.98): Darvish wasn't as sharp as he was in his near perfect game in Houston in his first start, allowing three earned runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday ... Darvish pitched with a blister on the inside of his right ring finger, though he said it gave him no issues ... He had six strikeouts and four walks ... Darvish's blister was noticeable in the fifth inning, prompting manager Ron Washington to take him out of the game ... Washington said on Wednesday that the blister has gotten smaller ... Darvish has been good in April with a 6-0 record and a 2.12 ERA in seven starts in his first two years in the big leagues ... He is 2-2 with a 6.65 ERA in four starts against the Mariners ... That includes two starts last season at Safeco Field in which he was 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA.

Iwakuma (1-0, 2.57): The 31-year-old right-hander went a career-high eight innings in his last start against the Chicago White Sox, allowing four hits and three runs ... He won his first start of the season against Oakland, beating the A's 7-1 while allowing two hits and picking up seven strikeouts in six innings ... Iwakuma was moved to the Mariners' rotation at midseason last year and has become one of their most consistent hurlers ... He has a 2.64 ERA in 18 starts since becoming a starter ... Iwakuma has struggled against the Rangers in four appearances (three starts), going 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA ... He has allowed 27 hits, including four home runs, in 20 1/3 innings.

Hitters: Kyle Seager (4-for-10, 5 RBIs) and Carlos Peguero (2-for-6) have given Darvish the most trouble. David Murphy (5-for-9, 1 HR, 3 RBI), Craig Gentry (3-for-6), Ian Kinsler (4-for-9, 2 HRs, 2 RBIs) and Adrian Beltre (3-for-8, 2 RBIs) have all had success against Iwakuma.

Matchup: Martin Perez vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

September, 21, 2012
Newly-anointed fifth starter Martin Perez takes the mound for the Texas Rangers tonight in the opener of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners and right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. First pitch is scheduled for 9:10 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA 21. A quick look at the matchup:

Perez (1-1, 3.38 ERA): The 21-year-old is the newest member of the rotation, taking over for the demoted Scott Feldman. ... In his last appearance Sept. 15, Perez tossed 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief against the Mariners, walking one and striking out five. ... Has not made a start since July 24, when he surrendered one run in six innings against the Boston Red Sox. ... Has made three starts this season. ... Rangers have lost the last seven games in which he has appeared.

Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39 ERA): The 31-year-old rookie from Japan has a 2.84 ERA in 13 games since moving into the rotation. ... Has lost his previous two starts, including last week to the Rangers in Arlington. ... Has a 2.57 ERA at Safeco Field (compared to 4.57 on the road). ... Has allowed nine earned runs and 19 hits in 13 1/3 innings (6.08 ERA) against Texas.

Hitters: The Rangers are hitting .327 off Iwakuma. ... Ian Kinsler is 4-for-6 with two home runs and a double against Iwakuma. ... Josh Hamilton (2-for-6) also has a home run off Iwakuma, while Adrian Beltre is 3-for-8 with two RBIs. ... The Mariners have not recorded a hit against Perez. Brendan Ryan and Justin Smoak have each walked against Perez, but Seattle is a collective 0-for-14 with five strikeouts off the rookie left-hander.

Up next:

Sat. at Seattle: Matt Harrison (17-9, 3.26 ERA) vs. Blake Beavan (9-10, 4.88 ERA), 8:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/FSSW
Sun. at Seattle: Ryan Dempster (11-7, 3.08 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (14-10, 3.92 ERA), 3:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3FM/FSSW

Week ahead: Angels, Mariners

September, 17, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers have 16 games remaining in the 2012 season and are in the middle of a pennant race. They'll face the AL West in all of those remaining games. They travel to Anaheim later today to start a three-game series Tuesday with the Angels and have three games with Seattle over the weekend. Here's a look at a few things to watch:

* Scoreboard watching. Everyone will be paying attention to the A's, who lost Sunday. The Rangers are three games up with 16 to play.

* The Angels come in after taking two of three in Kansas City over the weekend. The lone loss was a tough one, blowing a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth Saturday. Los Angeles still has plenty to play for as it is in range of the AL wild card. The Rangers and Angels will see each other six more times this season, including three in Arlington on Sept. 28-30, the final homestand of the season for Texas.

* Ryan Dempster will attempt to keep his winning ways going when he takes the mound Tuesday. He has won five consecutive starts (starts, not just decisions) and has quality starts in all of those outings. The club record for wins in consecutive starts is eight by Kenny Rogers in 2005.

* The bullpen hasn't been at 100 percent, but should be good to go this week. Look for Mike Adams to return in Anaheim and with Robbie Ross now active, the club gets a reliable arm back in the fold. Joe Nathan, after a heavy workload las week, got a few days off and should be rested and ready.

* Martin Perez. He was named the club's fifth starter after Sunday's game, replacing Scott Feldman. He'll pitch against the Mariners again Friday.

* Mike Napoli caught the last two games and returned Saturday after missing 33 games with the strained left quad. He had a three-run homer Saturday and said he feels comfortable. You may not see him running at full speed, but he doesn't feel the quad when he's catching or moving laterally behind the plate. That's important.

* Josh Hamilton has five extra-base hits in his last four games (two homers and three doubles) and leads the league in homers (42) and RBIs (123). His career-high for RBIs is 130 set in 2008. Can he get close to that mark during this road trip?

* Texas will likely see Hisashi Iwakuma and Jason Vargas again in Seattle.

* Can the Rangers continue to win series? They've won eight of their last nine series and continue to preach that if they win series, they'll be fine.

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

September, 14, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Seattle Mariners come to town and Yu Darvish will kick the series off for the Rangers. He'll face fellow countryman Hisashi Iwakuma at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. Here's a look at the matchup:

Darvish (14-9, 4.14 ERA): This will be his 27th start of the season and he comes into the outing off five consecutive quality starts, going 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA and a .161 opponent batting average. ... The numbers are even better in his last three starts: 2-0, 1.64 ERA with a .147 opponent average. ... Darvish got the no-decision in his last start, a 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay in 10 innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits in eight innings. ... Darvish has 196 strikeouts, the most by any rookie and the third-most in the league. He's seeking to become just the third AL rookie since 1976 with more than 200 strikeouts. The others: Mark Langston (204 in 1984 for Seattle), Daisuke Matsuzaka (201 in 2007 for Boston). ... Darvish is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in three starts (16 innings) vs. Seattle this season.

Iwakuma (6-4, 3.39 ERA): The 31-year-old has won four of his last five decisions, but his most recent start was a short one and a loss. ... Iwakuma gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits in 3 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and two walks in a 6-1 loss to the Oakland A's. ... Iwakuma moved into the rotation in July and faced the Rangers that month in Seattle. He allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings with no strikeouts and three walks. ... As a starter, Iwakuma is 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 12 starts. ... He has an ERA more than two runs higher on the road (4.74) than at home.

Hitters: Ian Kinsler and Craig Gentry are both 2-for-3 and Kinsler has a HR off Iwakuma. ... Michael Young is 1-for-5. ... Mariner hitters are batting just .238 against Darvish this season. ... Kyle Seager is 3-for-7 with five RBIs. ... John Jaso is 2-for-4 with a homer. ... Michael Saunders and Brendan Ryan are a combined 2-for-14.

Up next:

Sat. vs. Sea: RHP Scott Feldman (6-11, 4.97) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (14-10, 3.85), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/TXA21
Sun. vs. Sea: LHP Matt Harrison (16-9, 3.36 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Beavan (9-9, 5.01), 2:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW



Colby Lewis
10 5.12 123 158
BAA. Beltre .322
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 77
OPSA. Beltre .874
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182