Mariners-Rangers Preview

Although he may be disappointed with the lack of run support and

victories, Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is in contention to

win the AL Cy Young Award. For Texas Rangers right-hander Scott

Feldman, there’s no chance an individual accolade can mask a

discouraging 2010.

Hernandez looks to add to his Cy Young resume Tuesday night in

Arlington, where Feldman could be pitching for a spot on the AL

West champs’ postseason roster.

Despite pitching an AL-high 241 2-3 innings, ranking second in

strikeouts with a career-high 227 and posting a league-best 2.31

ERA, Hernandez is just 12-12.

Having the league’s worst run support average (3.09) hasn’t

helped the right-hander, who has a 5-3 record while yielding one

run or fewer in eight of his last nine starts. In his last outing

Thursday at Toronto, Hernandez threw eight innings of one-run ball,

but was tagged by Jose Bautista’s 50th homer in a 1-0 loss.

“Yeah, I’ve done a lot,” Hernandez told the Mariners’ official

web site. “Just trying to help the team to win (that’s it)”

Hernandez, though, is 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in five starts against

Texas (87-69) this season.

After finishing tied for fourth in the AL last season with a

career-best 17 wins, Feldman (7-10, 5.45) expected to be a major

contributor this year in the Rangers’ push for their first playoff

berth since 1999. Instead, the right-hander has been dropped from

the club’s opening day starter to a seldom-used reliever.

Feldman gets the rare start Tuesday so ace Cliff Lee can pitch

Game 1 of the AL division series on five days’ rest.

“I was expecting to be on a good team … that part has been

great. But I didn’t expect to be marinating in the bullpen and not

pitching,” Feldman told the Rangers’ official website prior to his

first appearance in 13 days – two innings of relief in Thursday’s

5-0 loss at Oakland.

Feldman, who has made just one start since July 24, is 1-1 with

a 2.84 ERA in two starts versus Seattle (60-96) this season.

While the Rangers are setting their rotation and trying to field

a healthy lineup when the playoffs start next week, the Mariners

are trying to use this series as a springboard to 2011.

“…I’m proud of (the Rangers) for what they’ve accomplished

this year and we’ve got to look forward to the future and keep

playing hard and keep playing well and hopefully next year this

club will be able to do that,” said first baseman Justin Smoak, who

was 3 for 4 with a three-run homer Monday in his first game in

Arlington since he was shipped to Seattle in July as part of the

Lee trade.

Ichiro Suzuki, the AL player of the week, was hitless in five

at-bats in the series opener and is batting .182 in eight games in

Arlington this season. He is 7 for 24 against Feldman.

Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz, who is hitting .429 with five

homers and 11 RBIs against Seattle this season, is 10 for 33 with

three home runs versus Hernandez.

Vladimir Guerrero, who also has three home runs against the

Mariners ace, is one shy of reaching 30 for the ninth time, and

first since 2006.