Series: Game 1 of 3

Series starts Fri 9/11

Game 1: Friday, September 11
Game 1: Saturday, September 12
Game 2: Sunday, September 13
Game 3: Sunday, September 13

8:05 PM ET, September 11, 2009

Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

Starting Pitchers

Seattle: Morrow (2-4, 4.39 ERA)

Texas: Millwood (13-10, 3.67 ERA)

Mariners-Rangers Preview


While the Texas Rangers are chasing their first playoff berth in 10 years, the Seattle Mariners are resigned to watching Ichiro Suzuki's pursuit of major league history.

Needing four hits to reach 200 for a ninth consecutive season, Suzuki will face the team he's recorded the most hits against in his career when Seattle opens a three-game series against the Rangers on Friday night in Arlington.

The Rangers (79-60) are two games behind Boston for the AL wild card and five in back of Los Angeles in the AL West as they begin a nine-game homestand against division rivals, including three against the Angels from Sept. 18-20.

"It's going to be a tough nine days," manager Ron Washington said. "It's going to be huge."

Texas hasn't reached the postseason since making its only three appearances from 1996-99.

However, many observers of this series will likely focus on Suzuki. Last season, the perennial All-Star outfielder matched Willie Keeler's major league-record eight straight 200-hit seasons from 1894-1901.

"It's not a fluke that a guy like that has consistency in his game," manager Don Wakamatsu told the Mariners' official Web site about Suzuki. "Even if he does struggle, he seems to find a way to get either an infield hit, hit the ball the other way or pull the ball."

He has struggled since recording his 2,000th hit Sunday in Oakland, going 1 for 17 since.

Suzuki, second in the AL with a .354 average, has 239 career hits against the Rangers and is 13 for 35 in the past eight meetings. He has five career four-hit games versus Texas, but none this season.

He is also 26 for 65 against Rangers starter Kevin Millwood (10-9, 3.77 ERA), tied for the most hits against one pitcher. Suzuki also had 26 hits against the Angels' John Lackey, but struck out twice while going 0 for 4 against him in the Mariners' 3-0 defeat Thursday.

While Seattle (72-69) will attempt to avoid a season-high tying sixth straight loss, Texas will try for its eight win in 10 games this month.

In their previous series, the Rangers outscored Cleveland 31-14 and had 48 hits in a three-game road sweep. Elvis Andrus has batted .364 during a 12-game hitting streak, and Marlon Byrd is 14 for 26 with 10 RBIs over the past seven games.

"We certainly have been looking for this to happen with our offense," Washington said. "I'm glad they're feeling good about themselves because it's been awhile since we really put some runs up."

Millwood will try to benefit and earn his third win in 12 starts since July. He's 1-2 with a 6.85 ERA over his last four outings and gave up five runs and seven hits with four walks over five innings in a 5-4 defeat Saturday in Baltimore.

He will face the Mariners in Texas for the first time since Aug. 24, 2007 after six straight road starts against them. He's 2-7 with a 6.37 ERA in his last 10 starts against Seattle but 4-2 with a 4.62 ERA in six career matchups in Arlington.

Millwood has split two outings with a 6.08 ERA versus the Mariners this year.

Seattle will counter with Brandon Morrow (0-4, 5.28), who will make his first start since losing to the Rangers on July 10. The former first-round draft pick, recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Tacoma, allowed four runs and six hits with four walks over five innings in that lone career start against Texas.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Gameday Matchup

Current StreakW2L2
Last 106-44-6

Pitching Matchup

B. Morrow
2-4, 4.39 ERA

Last Game:
9/30 at SEA
8.0 IP, 0 ER
Dec = Win
K. Millwood
13-10, 3.67 ERA

Last Game:
10/1 at LAA
9.0 IP, 2 ER
Dec = Win

Gameday Lineups

1. I. Suzuki, RF J. Borbon, DH
2. F. Gutierrez, CF E. Andrus, SS
3. J. Lopez, 2B I. Kinsler, 2B
4. K. Griffey Jr., DH M. Byrd, CF
5. A. Beltre, 3B N. Cruz, RF
6. B. Hall, LF D. Murphy, LF
7. J. Hannahan, 1B I. Rodriguez, C
8. J. Wilson, SS C. Davis, 1B
9. R. Johnson, C E. German, 3B