With the AL West title in reach, the Texas Rangers are starting to get a little antsy. A visit from the Seattle Mariners should provide the ideal opportunity for them to finally sew up the division in front of their home crowd.
The Rangers have a chance to clinch their second straight West title Friday night when they try to continue their success against the last-place Mariners.
Texas (90-66) has won eight of 10 and can clinch the West with a win in this game and a loss by Los Angeles to Oakland later Friday evening.
“We’d love to do it as soon as possible,” second baseman Ian Kinsler(notes) said. “Whether it’s the first game, second game or third game at home, it would be a lot of fun if we’re able to do it in front of our home crowd.”
There’s an excellent chance it will happen at some point this weekend against Seattle (66-90), which has lost 12 of 16 to the Rangers this season, including five of six in Arlington. Texas took two of three from the Mariners at Safeco Field last weekend.
“The sooner we win games to wrap it up, you want to do it,” manager Ron Washington said. “At the same time we don’t look too far ahead. If we keep playing like this, pretty soon it will happen.”
Josh Hamilton(notes), Adrian Beltre(notes) and Elvis Andrus(notes) each homered Saturday off Friday’s scheduled starter Anthony Vasquez(notes) (1-4, 8.25 ERA), who allowed five runs in three innings of a 7-6 loss to the Rangers in his sixth career start.
“You never think they will put balls out of the park that easy with one swing of the bat,” the rookie left-hander said. “You look back and wish you’d made a couple different pitches.”
Hamilton, who had four hits with three RBIs in that contest, had two hits in Texas’ 4-3 loss at Oakland on Thursday that snapped its four-game winning streak. Hamilton is 10 for 22 with two homers and four RBIs in his last five games.
Andrus is 7 for 18 (.389) in his last four games against the Mariners.
The left-hander has a 1.01 ERA in his last seven appearances versus Seattle, with four coming in relief before making three starts this season. He has won all three of those starts while posting a 1.27 ERA and struck out nine over 6 2-3 innings in Sunday’s 3-0 victory.
“You just try and keep the game close and make your pitches and try and stay in the game as long as possible,” said Harrison, who has a 2.41 ERA over his last three starts overall.
Seattle rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley(notes) is 0 for 9 with two strikeouts against Harrison but went 5 for 12 while the Mariners took two of three at Minnesota this week. He was 4 for 39 with 15 strikeouts in his previous 11 games prior to that series.
The Mariners snapped a six-game skid at Texas with a 4-3 win in the teams’ last meeting there Aug. 10.