Mariners-Rangers Preview


Ian Kinsler went hitless in his last game, but it may have been the only disappointment for the Texas Rangers second baseman over the last 24 hours.

Kinsler and the Rangers will go for their fourth straight win Wednesday night when they continue a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners.

After hitting a three-run homer in Texas' 11-5 victory over Seattle on Monday, Kinsler announced he and the Rangers (4-1) agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract, pending a physical. The leadoff hitter is batting .278 with two homers and four RBIs in 2012.

"Well deserved," teammate David Murphy told the Rangers' official website. "He's as complete of a player as you'll see in the big leagues and has the best instincts out of any player I've ever played with. He loves the game. He's the ultimate competitor."

Kinsler, who hit .255 last season, but had a career-high 32 homers, went 0 for 3 with a walk Tuesday in Texas' 1-0 win over the Mariners. Neftali Feliz pitched four-hit ball over seven innings in his first major league start and Murphy had three hits and drove in a run.

"Murphy swung the bat extremely well and the pitching and defense held it up," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Murphy is batting .533 with five extra-base hits this season, including two doubles on Tuesday.

Despite losing two straight for the first time this season, Seattle (3-3) may not feel too disappointed as it continues a season-opening road trip that has included two games in Tokyo, two in Oakland and now four in Arlington.

Jesus Montero had two of the Mariners' four hits Tuesday after sitting out Monday with a stomach problem. The 22-year-old, acquired in the trade that sent Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees, is expected to make his first start behind the plate in one of these next two games.

The Rangers will hand the ball to Colby Lewis, who was solid in his season debut, giving up two runs while striking out nine over six innings of a 3-2 victory against the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

"Colby is fearless," Murphy said. "He's not afraid to challenge guys, pound the strike zone and help his defense. He keeps the ball down and works quickly. You love playing behind a guy like that."

The right-hander has won his last two starts versus the Mariners to improve to 6-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 17 career appearances - 13 starts - against them. He's 4-0 with a 2.94 ERA in five starts in Arlington against Seattle.

Former Ranger Kevin Millwood will take the mound for the Mariners.

The 37-year-old right-hander, who has 163 career wins over 15 major league seasons, spent last year with Colorado, going 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA. He was a non-roster invitee by Seattle, earning a spot in the rotation with a strong spring.

"I still feel physically like I can go out and make my starts and pitch 200 innings," he said. "Obviously the velocity is not going to be what it was seven, eight years ago. But I feel like I'm a lot smarter than I was then, so it all comes in cycles."

Millwood is 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in three lifetime starts against the Rangers.