Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington watched as his club
struggled offensively while suffering its first back-to-back losses
in nearly a month.
Though hitting has been a season-long problem for the Seattle
Mariners, they’ve done enough to give the AL West leaders fits
The Rangers look to get back on track Monday night in the opener
of a three-game road set with struggling Seattle, which has won
five of the last seven meetings.
Texas (75-55) averaged 9.0 runs while winning five of six, but
it went 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position while dropping
the final two of its three-game series with the Chicago White Sox
over the weekend.
Jeff Baker’s two-run homer was all it could muster in Sunday’s
5-2 defeat, and the Rangers will look to bounce back against a
Mariners team that took two of three when these clubs met Aug.
Texas, which hadn’t lost consecutive games since a four-game
skid from July 25-28 prior to Sunday, won seven of the first nine
matchups this season, but Seattle has gotten the better of the
“More like a pain in my side,” said Washington, whose club leads
Oakland by 2 1/2 games atop the West. “They’ve always played us
tough. Not just this year, they’ve always played us tough. It’s
just one team that plays us tough and they’ve got pitching to go
along with that.”
Seattle won the most recent meeting 4-3 as Kyle Seager hit a
tiebreaking double in the top of the ninth. He’s hitting .409 with
four homers and 11 doubles versus Texas.
“You throw balls in the dirt, he hits them,” Washington told the
team’s official website. “You throw them over his head, he hits
them. I might have to walk him.”
Seager, though, is just 2 for 23 with eight strikeouts over his
last six after going 0 for 4 in Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Los
Angeles Angels. The Mariners (59-70) were outscored 14-2 during the
three-game sweep, giving manager Eric Wedge a rude welcome
“Not a great re-entry for myself here,” Wedge said.
Seattle’s .242 team average ranks 13th in the AL, and it will
face Rangers starter Travis Blackley on Monday as he makes his
second start of the season.
Blackley (1-1, 4.85 ERA), acquired from Houston on Aug. 14, made
his first start Tuesday after 42 relief appearances with the
Astros. He gave up two runs and three hits in four innings of a 4-2
win over Houston.
The left-hander was called up from Triple-A to replace Alexi
Ogando, who is on the disabled list with right shoulder
“He did a good job,” Washington said. “He did what he needed to
do, keep us in the game.”
Blackley, who began his major league career with Seattle in
2004, has a 1.98 ERA in one start and four relief appearances
against his former team, which counters with Joe Saunders.
Saunders (10-12, 4.91) has struggled over the last month, going
1-4 with a 7.42 ERA in six starts while allowing 65 baserunners in
30 1-3 innings. He allowed four runs, 10 hits and three walks in
six innings of Seattle’s 7-4 win over Oakland on Tuesday.
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts against
Texas this season, though he gave up two runs – one earned – in 6
2-3 innings of a 9-2 win July 2. He went 0-6 with an 8.91 ERA in
his previous seven outings versus the Rangers.