Seattle (53-50) at Texas (58-43)

Fair Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sat Aug 1, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A no-trade clause nixed the Texas Rangers’ attempt to land a bona fide ace before the trade deadline. Despite not adding a big arm, the club still feels it’s capable of reaching the playoffs.

The red-hot Rangers, however, will have to contend with ace Felix Hernandez(notes) on Saturday night when they continue a four-game home series against the Seattle Mariners.

Texas (58-43) was one of several clubs considered a significant contender to acquire Toronto’s Roy Halladay(notes) leading up to Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The six-time All-Star refused to waive his no-trade clause, though, and a deal was never reached with any team.

“It’s no secret that he was one of the more attractive players out there,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told the team’s official Web site. “We still like our club as it’s currently constituted. We’re not going to give up. We’re going to be in this until the end. We have as much chance to win as anybody.

“Bringing in a marginal or mediocre fit didn’t have a lot of value. Unless somebody came in who could make a real impact, we didn’t believing in trying to improve marginally.”

The Rangers have won 10 of their last 12, beating Seattle 5-4 on Friday following a 7-1 victory in Thursday’s series opener. The surge has moved them within three games of AL West-leading Los Angeles, and within 1 1/2 of Boston in the wild-card race.

Cutting further into those gaps could be difficult Saturday when they face Hernandez (11-4, 2.79 ERA), who ranks among the league leaders in wins, ERA and strikeouts (139).

The All-Star right-hander has been outstanding in 12 road starts, going 7-1 with a 1.91 ERA while fanning 80 in 84 2-3 innings. He’ll try to help the Mariners (53-50) to only their third win in nine games, a day after they dealt left-hander Jarrod Washburn(notes) to Detroit for two young pitchers.

Hernandez, though, is coming off his first loss in 12 outings. He allowed a season-high seven runs and 11 hits before being pulled after throwing 103 pitches in 5 2-3 innings of Monday’s 11-4 home defeat to the Blue Jays. Hernandez had gone 7-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his previous 11 starts, 10 of which Seattle won.

“He’s been so good this year and been a savior a lot of times,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Hernandez is 1-5 with a 3.65 ERA in his last nine starts against the Rangers.

Rangers third baseman Michael Young(notes) has enjoyed some success against Hernandez, going 17 for 48 (.354) with a homer.

Young is 15 for 26 with four homers and nine RBIs over the last seven games, including two solo homers against Seattle on Thursday.

The Rangers will give the ball to rookie Tommy Hunter(notes) (3-1, 2.00), who is looking to win a fourth consecutive decision.

The 23-year-old right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA in his last four starts, including a solid performance in a 3-1 loss at Seattle on July 9. In that outing, Hunter allowed four hits in six scoreless innings.

He’s won both of his starts since, yielding two runs and nine hits in 13 innings.

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Starting Pitchers

F. Hernández Sea vs. T. Hunter Bal
19-5 Record 9-6
2.49 ERA 4.10
217 K 64
71 BB 33
1.14 WHIP 1.30


Saturday, Aug 1