MLB

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 - 10:10 PM ET
 

Rangers-Mariners Preview

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The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are separated by 16 1/2 games in the AL West, but it's been a different story when they've met on the field.

The best and worst teams in the division have split their first 10 meetings heading into Friday night's opener of a three-game set in Seattle.

Texas (52-34) has scored a major league-high 443 runs and Seattle (36-51) has 337 for the AL's second-worst total. The Mariners, however, have outscored the Rangers 57-42 in 2012.

Seattle has five players with at least six RBIs in the season series, led by Jesus Montero's eight.

Texas has just three players who have reached that mark, with Josh Hamilton and Michael Young driving in seven runs apiece. Nelson Cruz has had a tough time getting untracked against Seattle, going 5 for 34 with 13 strikeouts.

Seattle is hoping to fix its offensive home woes after batting a major league-low .195 and hitting an AL-worst 21 homers while going 16-25 at Safeco Field.

"This is where we play," manager Eric Wedge said. "This is our home field. We're going to play here half the season and you just have to be accepting of that. It's a beautiful ballpark and anything that needs to be addressed will be addressed in the offseason in regard to the ballpark."

Hamilton is enjoying an MVP-caliber season as he leads the majors with 75 RBIs, a .635 slugging percentage and is tied with Toronto's Jose Bautista with 27 homers. The Rangers, who lead the Angels by four games in the West, feel they have room for improvement offensively with Cruz and Mike Napoli not enjoying stellar seasons.

"We haven't really busted out offensively, and we've been banged up on the pitching front," Young told the Rangers' official website. "At the same time, we've managed to push on and still win some games. That's the product of having a bunch of guys who have played together the last few years and learned how to win games."

Runs could be hard to come by for the Rangers on Friday versus Kevin Millwood (3-6, 3.69 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts against them this season. Texas is batting .177 against him with five extra-base hits, including the lone homer by Cruz.

The veteran right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.63 ERA in seven starts since beating the Rangers on May 23. Millwood was stellar in his last outing July 6 with seven scoreless innings in a 4-1, 11-inning defeat at Oakland.

The Mariners are 10-17 against left-handed starters, and they usually struggle versus Derek Holland (5-4, 5.05). That wasn't the case the last time they saw him, as he allowed eight runs over 1 2-3 innings in Seattle's 21-8 win in Texas on May 30.

Holland was 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his first seven starts against the Mariners.

He's allowed nine homers over his last 25 1-3 innings after yielding three over his first 47 2-3 of the season.

Tagged: Mariners, Rangers, Nelson Cruz

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