Vicente Padilla looks to finish with 15 wins for the first time in his eight-year career when he starts Friday for the Texas Rangers to open a three-game, season-ending series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
Padilla (14-10, 4.44 ERA) also won a career-best 14 games in 2002 and 2003 with Philadelphia, which traded him to Texas before this season started. The right-hander, an impending free agent, went 0-3 with a 3.98 ERA in four September 2002 starts and lost his final two 2003 starts.
“It will definitely be an accomplishment for him, but I don’t think one more win will dictate whether he had a good year or a great year,” Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor said. “I just want him to pitch well and see what happens. I’d like to see him get it.”
Padilla, though, is 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA in five career appearances against Seattle. He faced the Mariners once this season and pitched well despite not getting a decision, allowing a run and three hits in seven innings of a 4-3 victory on April 20.
He was not nearly as good in his most recent start, allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-3 defeat to Cleveland on Saturday.
“He was a little high in the zone,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
Padilla won’t have the benefit of closer Akinori Otsuka, who was officially shut down on Wednesday due to persistent migraine headaches.
A win would help the Rangers (79-80) move closer to just their second winning season this decade—the other came in 2004 (89-73). However, it’s hard not to feel their season is ending in disappointment considering the team was tied for the AL West lead at the All-Star break.
Texas has won one of eight September series—it is 10-14 this month—and lost the deciding contest of its three-game set at Los Angeles this week with a 6-5 defeat on Wednesday.
The Rangers lost despite two homers and five RBIs from Mark Teixeira, who has hit 23 of his 32 homers after the All-Star break. Teixeira’s 139 career homers trail only Albert Pujols (248) and Hall of Famers Ralph Kiner (168) and Eddie Mathews (163) for a player’s first four seasons.
Teixeira and Gary Matthews Jr., who has hit .409 (27-for-66) with six homers and 15 RBIs against Seattle this season, will be two of the biggest concerns for Seattle’s Ryan Feierabend when he takes the mound Friday.
After two scoreless relief appearances, Feierabend (0-1, 3.75) lost his first career start on Sunday at Chicago. The left-hander allowed five runs and eight hits, including three homers, in six innings of a 12-7 defeat.
The Mariners’ major league-worst division record fell to 17-37 with a 7-6, 10-inning loss on Wednesday to Oakland. Closer J.J. Putz allowed two ninth-inning runs and fell to 34-for-41 on save opportunities.
“It just happens,” Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said.
Raul Ibanez failed to homer for a fourth straight game, but extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He’s batting .451 (23-for-51) during that span with five homers and 12 RBIs.
Adrian Beltre went 0-for-4 on Wednesday to snap his season-best 16-game hitting streak. Both of his hits in 15 career at-bats against Padilla have been home runs.
Ichiro Suzuki, who is 6-for-10 against Padilla, had two hits Wednesday as he returned to the lineup after a shoulder problem caused him to sit out Tuesday and end his streak of consecutive games played at 396.
These teams will finish in a tie for last place in the AL West if the Mariners sweep this series.
Texas leads the season series 10-6.