Texas Rangers: Seattle Mariners

Extra Bases: Rangers setting records

September, 5, 2014
Sep 5
ARLINGTON, Texas – In the midst of a 10-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers continued their record march of players used.

Relief pitchers Spencer Patton and Lisalverto Bonilla made their big league debuts Thursday night, giving the Rangers 63 players and 40 pitchers used this season, both major league records for a single season.

The Rangers have also set team records for rookies used (22) and big league debuts (15) this season.

Patton’s debut was delayed a few days because his wife gave birth to a baby boy on Tuesday. The new dad was pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

Bonilla threw 58 pitches over three innings of work. His first pitch was short of the plate and hit home plate umpire Vic Carapazza in the groin, causing a slight delay and a few laughs.

“Got him in the kneecap, right,” joked manager Ron Washington.

Bonilla gave up a solo home run in the eighth inning to Chris Denorfia for his only real mistake.

“I thought Patton came in and his 92-, 93-mph fastball looked like 96, 97,” Washington said. “He’s got a little finish on it and he showed a good breaking ball, and he did show some composure out there on the mound. He looked like he could pitch a little bit. Bonilla did a good job. He got a fastball up and Denorfia didn’t miss it. But after that, he managed his innings and he got out of it. I was really pleased with what he did.”

Mikolas hopes to return: Right-handed starter Miles Mikolas has missed his last two scheduled starts because of a sore shoulder and received a cortisone shot Thursday. Mikolas said he hopes to throw a bullpen session next Tuesday and possibly return to the rotation. Mikolas also noted he would pitch out of the bullpen if needed.

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).

W2W4: Rangers at Mariners

August, 25, 2014
Aug 25
The Rangers begin a 10-game road trip Monday night in Seattle.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Mariners? A three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox over the weekend pushed the Mariners to a one-game lead over Detroit for the second AL wild-card spot. Seattle is 15-5 in its last 20 games and 65-18 when the Mariners score three or more runs. 2B Robinson Cano (.326/.394/.465) left Sunday’s game with dizziness related to the flu. He’s questionable for the Rangers series. 3B Kyle Seager leads the Mariners with 19 HRs and 80 RBIs. 1B Logan Morrison has an eight-game hit streak and has 21 hits in the last 22 games.

What’s up with the Rangers? The Rangers are 27 games behind first place in the AL West and have been outscored by a major-league high 139 runs. The Rangers lead the season-series against the Mariners, 7-5, and the teams play seven more times this season. Against the AL West, the Rangers are just 19-30. 3B Adrian Beltre is hitting .500 the last eight games and has had multiple hits in five consecutive games. CF Leonys Martin is tied for the AL lead with the Los Angeles Angels Erick Aybar with nine bunt hits. LF/DH Shin-Soo Choo missed Sunday’s game with the flu and will make the trip to Seattle.

Against the King: Felix Hernandez will face the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. In three 2014 starts, Hernandez is 0-1 with two no-decisions. Hernandez, while considered one of the more dominant pitchers of his generation, is 12-21 in 42 career starts against the Rangers with 239 strikeouts in 269 innings. The Rangers, meanwhile, are hitting just .178 against him. Elvis Andrus has 12 RBIs and a .307 career average against him and Beltre is hitting .294. Alex Rios is batting just .244.

The matchups: Monday: RHP Miles Mikolas (1-5, 7.48) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (9-10, 4.09), Tuesday: RHP Nick Martinez (3-9, 5.13) vs. LHP James Paxton (3-1, 2.20), Wednesday: RHP Colby Lewis (8-11, 5.54) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (13-4, 2.07).
ARLINGTON, Texas -- While Prince Fielder will miss a fourth consecutive game with a herniated disc in his neck, center fielder Leonys Martin will miss his second consecutive game with a stiff neck.

Martin, 5-for-12 in the last four games, said he slept wrong as the reason why he's got a neck problem.

"I feel way better but not enough to play," Martin said prior to the Rangers game with the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. "I feel like I need to (Thursday off) too. I don't want to play at 50 percent, I want to play near 100 percent."

Martin said he'll do some baseball activities, such as hitting and running in pregame, to test his strength.

"I want to play everyday," he said. "But nothing I can do. You try to be ready and get back on the field."

New catcher for Darvish: Catcher Chris Gimenez will make his season debut Wednesday, catching for right-hander Nick Tepesch. However, Gimenez is expected to catch Yu Darvish in Game 1 of the four game set with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he spoke with Darvish about having Gimenez catch him and there weren't any issues.

Gimenez, who was called up Tuesday from Triple-A Round Rock, was on the Rangers' opening day roster but was taken off the roster the next day. He spent the early part of the year in Round Rock and hit .259 with 16 RBIs in 16 games. He played catcher, first base and DH at Round Rock. Of the 31 games he played, 17 were at catcher.

"I'm a big believer, the more playing time you have, the better you're going to get," Gimenez said. "It's all about having quality at-bats."

W2W4: Top-2 AL West teams in Arlington

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
Yu DarvishLisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesWill the Rangers be able to score more runs against the A's with Yu Darvish on the mound?
For the second time in a week, the Texas Rangers will face the Oakland A's in a three-game series. This one is at Globe Life Park in Arlington, the first time the A's have played in Arlington this season. A few things to watch during the series:

* Yu Darvish gets another crack at Oakland. The Rangers' ace faces RHP Sonny Gray in the series opener tonight after going six innings last week in Oakland, allowing three runs on eight hits with four walks and six strikeouts. It wasn't Darvish at his best, but it was good enough for a no-decision in a 4-3 win. Still, Darvish's career numbers against Oakland aren't pretty. He won his first career start against the A's, but is 0-6 with a 4.89 ERA in his last seven starts.

* Run support. In those last seven starts for Darvish against Oakland (0-6 record), the Rangers have scored two or fewer runs in five of the six defeats. This season in four starts (28 innings), Darvish has five runs of support -- a 1.61 average. Can the Rangers score enough runs to get a win?

* Scoreless streak. Can Martin Perez continue his assault on the Rangers' record book? He has 26 consecutive scoreless innings. The club record is 39 by Kenny Rogers in 1995. But Perez has another streak going: two straight complete game shutouts. He's the first to do that in the AL since teammate Derek Holland pulled off the feat in 2011. He's one of only eight pitchers since 1992 to throw two shutouts while allowing three or fewer hits. That list includes Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine and Matt Cain.

* Pitching matchups. Of the six pitchers scheduled to start in this series, the one with the highest ERA is Robbie Ross at 2.45. That should make runs at a premium and set up for a fun three games involving a trio of starters on each side that has started the season well.

(Read full post)

Beltre looks to continue to hit Hernandez

April, 26, 2014
Apr 26
Adrian Beltre nearly provided the go-ahead hit in the ninth inning of Friday's 6-5 loss to Seattle in his first game since returning from the disabled list. Now, he gets a chance to face Felix Hernandez, a former teammate and a pitcher Beltre respects.

For Beltre, it's an opportunity to continue his terrific numbers against Hernandez, a rarity against the former Cy Young Award winner.

Beltre has a career .345 average off Hernandez. He's 10-for-29 with a double, a homer and two RBIs. And every time he gets a hit, he lets Hernandez know about. It's all in good fun, of course.

Elvis Andrus also has hit Hernandez well in his career with a .300 average (21-for-70). Beltre and Andrus are two of just nine right-handed batters with 30 or more plate appearances off Hernandez to post a .300 batting average or better. (Beltre is fourth on that list.)

Hernandez does not have a win against the Rangers in six consecutive starts dating back to April 11, 2013 (thanks to the Rangers media relations staff for that note).

The only other times an opponent has held him winless in at least six straight starts was Texas (eight starts from April 1, 2008 -- May 14, 2009) and the Los Angeles Angels (eight starts Sept. 8, 2009 -- Aug. 7, 2011).

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Mariners 6

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was a strange day at Globe Life Park as neither starting pitcher could do much of anything. The Rangers had a 4-0 lead, lost it and then managed to snag the advantage back in the fifth and hang on for an 8-6 victory. Texas takes three out of four from the Mariners in the process and has won three straight games for the first time since the last week of the regular season in 2013, when they won seven straight to force Game 163. It's also the first time this season the Rangers have been two games above .500. Some thoughts:

Big inning hurts Scheppers (again): Tanner Scheppers couldn't get through the third inning Thursday. After talking about the need to minimize damage when a five-run inning hurt him in his last start, Scheppers wasn't able to do it. Staked to a 4-0 lead, he gave it all back in two swings -- consecutive home runs from Robinson Cano (his first with the Mariners this season) and Corey Hart. Scheppers ended up allowing six runs (two scored with Hector Noesi on the mound) on six hits in his outing with three walks and two strikeouts. He's allowed 20 runs this season and 17 of those have come in three big innings -- two six-run innings and a five-run inning.

First-inning runs: The Rangers came into Thursday's game with three first-inning runs all season. They scored three with two outs to give Scheppers the lead. After an Elvis Andrus double, Alex Rios struck out for the second out. The Mariners walked Prince Fielder intentionally to pitch to the red-hot Kevin Kouzmanoff. It didn't work. Kouzmanoff doubled to drive home the first run. Mitch Moreland then delivered a two-out, two-run single to center to make it 3-0.

Two-strike hits: All four runs scored in the first two innings by the Rangers came on two-strike counts. Texas came into the game batting .208 in those situations, good enough for third in the AL (two teams have .209 averages). The Rangers increased that average Thursday and did it early. The most impressive at-bat came from Kouzmanoff, who fell behind 0-2, worked it back to 2-2 and hit the eighth pitch for a double. The Rangers also had a two-strike bunt by Leonys Martin in the third that helped score a run when J.P. Arencibia grounded out to the left side of the infield, scoring Moreland.

Kouzmanoff hot: The Rangers' fill-in third baseman just continues to hit, increasing his streak of hitting safely to eight games (that's all that he's played in a Rangers uniform). Kouzmanoff hit doubles in his first two at-bats and has three multi-hit games since getting called up. The Mariners walked Fielder twice to pitch to Kouzmanoff. It didn't work in the first, but it did in the seventh.

Fielder can't cash in: The slugger got two chances with runners in scoring position Thursday and wasn't able to convert. The struggling slugger is now 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position this season. One of those chances came with the count already at two strikes. Rios, who has vowed to stay aggressive on the bases even with Fielder hitting behind him, stole second base and went to third on an errant throw by catcher John Buck.

Relief respect: The Rangers bullpen pitched 6 2/3 innings Thursday and didn't allow a run. Hector Noesi gave up some hard hits, but both of the runs he gave up were inherited runners charged to Scheppers. Pedro Figueroa, Jason Frasor, Alexi Ogando and Joakim Soria got the job done.

Small ball: Martin was asked to put down sacrifice bunts twice Thursday with runners at first and second. He converted both times, and Arencibia, behind him, hit ground balls to score a run in each frame. The bunt eliminated the chance at a double play and Arencibia did what he had to by hitting the ball on the ground. The average won't be helped, but the catcher did his job in those situations.

Up next: The Chicago White Sox come to town with LHP Martin Perez (2-0, 2.70 ERA) opposing RHP Felipe Paulino (0-1, 7.98 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21.

Join us for a live in-game chat today

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners get going at 1:05 p.m. today and we'll be chatting about it during the game.

The room will be open here on the blog and on ESPNDallas.com at 12:30 p.m., so join us during your work day.

It's the final game of the series between these two teams before the Rangers welcome the Chicago White Sox to town.

Why Wednesday was Yu Darvish's best start

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish did not have his impressive stuff on Wednesday, but it was still his most impressive start of 2014.

Yeah, that might seem odd considering he was coming off eight shutout innings of one-hit ball against the Houston Astros last week. But Darvish did what aces must do when things aren't going exactly right: He grinded and kept his team in the game.

Darvish's fastball command wasn't good. His slider wasn't as dominant as usual. He seemed out of sync early, as the Mariners came in with a good game plan. They knew Darvish was getting ahead in counts with first-pitch fastballs and decided to attack it. The result was a triple by Nick Franklin with one out in the second inning, igniting just enough Seattle offense. Darvish walked Dustin Ackley with two outs -- probably his worst at-bat of the game -- then gave up consecutive singles to fall behind 2-0.

At that point, Darvish knew he needed to alter his approach if he was to pitch deep into the game.

"I had to have really good communication with [catcher Robinson] Chirinos during the game," Darvish said through an interpreter. "We both knew they were trying to hack early. He was calling a lot of fastballs and sliders, so we talked and I told him that I have other pitches, as well.

"After that, we were able to get on the same page and throw a lot of effective breaking balls on the first pitch."

Darvish utilized his curve, change and splitter more for the rest of the game. And despite some long at-bats and a couple of walks, he got through seven innings in 107 pitches.

With Felix Hernandez hypnotizing the Rangers' offense, Darvish had to find a way to minimize damage and not let the game get away from him. He did exactly that.

It's easy to stay in a rhythm and come out with great numbers when most of what you're throwing is working -- and that's most of the time for Darvish. But that wasn't the case on Wednesday, and he still gave his team seven innings and a quality start.

What he didn't get were runs. Darvish has now pitched 22 innings this season and has zero runs of support.

"It's not like I'm able to go to the batter's box and hit, but I have a lot of respect for my teammates," Darvish said. "It is what it is. Sometimes there are days like this."

That's especially true when Felix Hernandez is on the mound. And he had his top-shelf stuff working on Wednesday. While Darvish's fastball command was wonky, Hernandez was spotting everything where he wanted and using that devastating changeup to get plenty of swings and misses. Hernandez had nine strikeouts and just one walk and made a surprisingly early exit after a leadoff triple in the eighth. It was the hardest hit ball the Rangers had all day off him (by Leonys Martin, later the hero in the ninth) and manager Lloyd McClendon decided to bring in lefty Charlie Furbush. Pinch hitter Michael Choice hit a sac fly to get the Rangers within one.

Darvish seemed destined to pick up the loss until the Rangers resiliency kicked in. A two-out single by Kevin Kouzmanoff, a walk by Mitch Moreland (who never attempted to swing during the at-bat) and an error by Mariners shortstop Brad Miller loaded the bases. Then a wild pitch and a single by Martin gave the Rangers the unlikely walk-off win.

They aren't in position to produce the heroics without Darvish hanging in despite not having his Grade A repertoire. That's what made Wednesday his best start of the season.

Extra Bases: Darvish vs. Hernandez tonight

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It happens a handful of times throughout the year, so you learn to cherish it: ace versus ace at Globe Life Park tonight.

Yu Darvish and Felix Hernandez have pitched against each other before, doing so twice in 2012.

Back then, Darvish was a big league rookie still trying to find his way. And it showed in both of their matchups. Darvish's numbers: 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA (11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings), nine strikeouts and 10 walks. Meanwhile, Hernandez allowed one run in 17 innings, with 19 strikeouts, two walks and a complete game.

But that's ancient history when talking about Darvish's progression. He pitched better late in 2012, even putting up a solid effort in the AL wild-card game, a loss to Joe Saunders and the Baltimore Orioles. Darvish carried that over into 2013 and was the Cy Young runner-up with a 2.83 ERA, a league-leading 277 strikeouts and a 1.073 WHIP. Darvish cut down on his walks and became an even better pitcher.

He's taking yet another step so far in 2014.

Darvish hasn't allowed a run in his first two starts (15 innings), while tallying 15 strikeouts and two walks. He went eight shutout innings against the Houston Astros, but got a no-decision as the Rangers scored the game's only run in the 12th inning for the walk-off win.

(Read full post)

W2W4: Ace vs. ace on Wednesday

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
Darvish/HernandezGetty ImagesIf the rotations stay in order, Yu Darvish will face off against Felix Hernandez on Wednesday.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners will face off for four games starting tonight at Globe Life Park. Seattle comes in on top of the American League West, a surprise early run for a team that spent some money this offseason, headlined by the acquisition of Robinson Cano. A few things to watch during the series:

* Colby Lewis' debut. We've written about Lewis this weekend, so check out on the blog how he's feeling for the upcoming start. He pitches tonight for the first time in nearly two years. I think the Rangers just want Lewis to keep them in games and eat innings. He doesn't have to be a top-end rotation guy. But he gives them a grit and competitiveness on the mound that they need.

* The baseball world will be watching Wednesday night if the rotations stay in order as we get the very attractive ace matchup of Felix Hernandez vs. Yu Darvish. It would be the third time the two aces have met, but the first since July 14, 2012. Both pitchers have had completely different numbers when facing each other in those previous two meetings. A look:

Darvish: 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA (11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings), nine strikeouts and 10 walks
Hernandez: 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA (one earned run in 17 innings), 19 strikeouts and two walks, one complete game

It's worth noting, of course, that Darvish was just starting his first big league season in 2012 and Hernandez had already won a Cy Young in 2010 and ended up having a perfect game in 2012.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Mariners 3 (10)

August, 28, 2013

SEATTLE -- Ignored, Ian Kinsler alertly stole third then scored on a two-out balk, and the Texas Rangers overcame a shaky start from Derek Holland. The offense mostly snoozed following a three-run second, but Texas hung in to beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 in 10 innings Tuesday night at Safeco Field.

Joe Nathan allowed a hit and a walk but got Michael Saunders to ground into a force play to finish the bottom of the 10th for his 38th save in 40 chances, as Texas stole a win in a weird way.

Race for West isn’t altered: The Rangers’ third victory in five games on this trip that began at the Chicago White Sox, kept them 2½ games ahead of the Oakland Athletics atop the American League West. That has been Texas’ division lead at the end of four consecutive days now. The A’s won again at Detroit on Tuesday.

Kinsler creates winning run: Plate umpire CB Bucknor seemed to owe Texas one in the 10th. He called Elvis Andrus out for running out of the baseline to the inside of the line as Seattle reliever Danny Farquhar threw to first on Andrus’ leadoff squibber. After manager Ron Washington came out to argue, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre each singled.

Kinsler then noticed Farquhar wasn’t looking at him as he took his lead from second base, so he sped to third for an easy steal. With two outs, he scored when Bucknor called Farquhar for a flinch-and-stop move before pitching. Then it was Seattle manager Eric Wedge’s turn to bark at Bucknor.

Scheppers blows away weird rally: Rangers reliever Neal Cotts began the bottom of the ninth by allowing a single to Saunders. Dustin Ackley then squared to bunt. Cotts charged toward home, but Ackley’s bunt was popped up over the mound where no Ranger was. The odd, infield single put two on with no outs.

Washington summoned eight-hander Tanner Scheppers (6-2) to face right-handed Humberto Quintero. Quintero also popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt, but into the glove of first baseman Mitch Moreland. Scheppers then blew away pinch hitter Nick Franklin and fellow rookie Brad Miller consecutively with 96-mph fastballs to send the game to the 10th.

Holland-daze: Pitching with an extra day’s rest, Holland was off. He walked his first batter on five pitches and allowed the leadoff man to reach base in each of the first four innings.

With the Rangers leading 3-2 leading off the bottom of the third, catcher A.J. Pierzynski set his glove low and inside; but Holland’s 1-0 pitch was centered and belt high to Franklin Gutierrez. Holland looked away in disgust as Gutierrez, in his second game off the disabled list, sent the mistake just past the leap and glove of Leonys Martin and over the center-field wall for a tying home run.

The game remained even until Kinsler’s dash and gift run.

Holland lasted six innings, allowing three hits and three earned runs. His four walks were his most in a start in six weeks.

Opportunity lost: Kinsler singled leading off the eighth, then Yoervis Medina hit Beltre with a 94-mph fastball in his back below the left shoulder. Pierzynski popped out on the next pitch, then Alex Rios grounded into a rally-ending double play.

Martin looks good: Martin was leading off and playing in center field for the first time since he injured his right ankle in an outfield collision on Saturday. The heavily taped ankle looked fine when he sprinted back and jumped off it in vain pursuit of Gutierrez’s homer. In the fourth, he ran from right-center field to left-center and onto the warning track for a catch of a drive by Humberto Quintero. In Martin’s past 24 starts in the leadoff spot, the Rangers are 20-4.

Up next: Martin Perez (7-3, 3.62 ERA) will try to set Texas rookie records with his fifth win in August and a win in his fifth consecutive start. He’s going to have to beat Seattle All-Star ace Felix Hernandez (12-7, 2.63) to do it in final game of the Rangers’ six-game road trip Wednesday at 2:40 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

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.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Mariners 3

August, 27, 2013

SEATTLE -- Elvis Andrus had three more hits before A.J. Pierzynski hit the first pitch following an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre for a game-breaking, three-run home run in the seventh inning. The Texas Rangers ended up cruising past the Seattle Mariners 8-3 Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.

Rangers manager Ron Washington was talking before the game about how much character Andrus has shown this season in climbing out of his .197 hole in late April. The rut was still at .237 in late June.

Andrus is at .261 now, following his third three-hit night in 18 games. His average hasn’t been higher than that since May 31.

Standings remain the same: The Rangers’ second win in four games on this six-game swing visiting the Chicago White Sox and the Pacific Northwest, coupled with the Oakland Athletics’ 8-6 victory at Detroit, kept Texas 2½ games in front of the A’s atop the American League West. That’s been Texas’ division lead at the end of three consecutive days now.

Blackley good enough: The Rangers’ conversion of Travis Blackley from Houston Astros reliever to starter since they acquired him two weeks ago just got better. After lasting only four innings on a strict, 66-pitch limit last week in his Texas debut -- a no-decision against Houston -- the Australian held the team with which he debuted in 2004 to three runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one while throwing 71 pitches and using his fastball well enough against the mostly punchless M’s.

Kyle Seager’s long solo home run in fourth was Seattle’s only extra-base hit off Blackley. A walk and infield single helped the Mariners load the bases with one out in the third before Brad Miller singled home two runs on a 2-0 fastball Blackley left up and not far enough off the inside corner. But Blackley (2-1) got Franklin Gutierrez to ground into an inning-ending double play started with a bobble, then bazooka-like throw by third baseman Beltre. That kept the game briefly tied at two before Texas took over.

Once Pierzynski’s and Mitch Moreland’s 19th home run, a solo shot in the eight, put Texas way ahead, Neal Cotts, Joakim Soria and Tanner Scheppers pitched successive scoreless inning to end it.

Gotcha! Texas got a guy who can erase baserunners with a nasty pickoff move when they traded cash considerations on Aug. 14 to Houston for Blackley, whom the Astros had designated for assignment six days earlier. Blackley picked Seattle rookie Brad Miller so far off first base after Miller had singled leading off the bottom of the sixth that Miller was almost halfway to second before he realized Blackley had thrown to first base instead of delivering a pitch home.

Last season, Blackley was second in the AL with seven pickoffs despite having only a partial season in the league after Oakland claimed him off waivers from the San Francisco Giants in mid-May.

Up next: Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95 ERA) looks to extend his sterling August in the second game of this three-game series Tuesday at 9:10 p.m. CT against Seattle All-Star Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98) on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.

Buzz: Martin gets one more rest day for ankle

August, 26, 2013
SEATTLE -- Leonys Martin tried to talk his way into the lineup for Monday night’s series opener against the Seattle Mariners.

Ron Washington’s response after seeing his center fielder test his heavily taped ankle 3 hours before Monday’s game: No.

And “good.”

The Texas Rangers manager was glad to hear Martin wants to return after being out since Saturday night’s collision with fellow outfielder David Murphy while they ran down a fly ball hit by White Sox slugger Paul Konerko in Chicago. And, after watching Martin run in the Safeco Field outfield, Washington was glad to see him running well again.

“We’ll visit getting him back in there [Tuesday],” Washington said, after deciding Craig Gentry would start in center field and lead off for the second consecutive game.

Martin says the ankle still bothers him when he plants his lead, right foot and then turns on it to hit.

“It doesn’t hurt when I run, but I feel something when I try to hit -- but not too much,” he said, declaring he was available to pinch run or as a defensive replacement Monday.

“Maybe [Tuesday]. ... They just want me to be 100 percent and do all the exercises.”

Martin had to be helped off the field Saturday in Chicago and said he felt so much pain initially he feared the ankle was broken. But he has since responded well to treatment.

(Read full post)



Adrian Beltre
.324 19 77 79
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182