Texas Rangers vs. Seattle Mariners Series Preview

AL West rivals renew acquaintances beginning on Friday night, as the Seattle Mariners welcome in the Texas Rangers for a three-game series at Safeco Field.

The Rangers snapped a four-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 6-0 home victory over the Miami Marlins - allowing the Rangers to remain eight games behind the division-leading A's heading into a crucial summer stretch for the club.

The Seattle Mariners, in contrast, have won eight of their last twelve and currently occupy the second wild-card spot in the American League.


Home: Seattle Mariners (34-32, 14-18 home)

Away: Texas Rangers (32-34, 16-15 away)

Key Stat:

The Seattle Mariners are one of baseball's most surprising teams, despite ranking just 29th in the Majors in on-base percentage (.297) and 27th in batting average (.237).

Rangers Outlook:

Staring down a nine-game road trip against the three teams currently ahead of them in the AL West standings, the Texas Rangers are looking for just a little help to make the most out this crucial mid-season swing through the houses of their division rivals.

''At some point, we've got to start getting blessed by the baseball gods,'' manager Ron Washington said, via Schuyler Dixon of Yahoo! Sports. ''But we have to make that happen. They're not just going to come down and say, 'OK, you all have been through enough misery. I'm going to take you out of it.' No, you've got to pull yourself out of your misery.''

Through a host of injuries and unexplainable slumps, the Rangers are still alive and kicking and could very well jump up a spot or two with a sudden turn of fortune this next week-and-a-half.

Mariners Outlook:

After the humbling experience of failing to make the team out of Spring Training, former top MLB prospect Jesus Montero will get another crack at sticking with the big league roster after his call-up on Thursday.

After hitting .270 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs in 59 games at Triple-A Tacoma, Montero is ready to put the lessons he learned from his demotion to good use.

“The biggest thing for me was how valuable it is to be in the big leagues, how good it is to be in the big leagues,” said Montero about his learning experience in the minors, via Greg Johns of Mariners Musings. “I have to respect the game, I have to do the best to be here all my life and to help the team to win.”

What to Watch For:

The AL West is arguably the best division in all of baseball, with two of the American League's five playoff spots currently occupied by teams in the division, and two other teams within arms' length as well.

The Rangers sit just 2.5 games out of the party, and can do wonders for their October chances with a series victory over the team directly ahead of them in the AL West standings - the Seattle Mariners.

However, in order to do so, the Rangers will have to win one of two against Seattle aces Felix Hernandez (8-1, 2.39) and Hisashi Iwakuma (4-3, 2.79).


What They're Saying About the Rangers:

Rangers try to stay afloat (Monkey with a Halo)

Scheppers to be shut down for at least six weeks (Star-Telegram)

What They're Saying About the Mariners:

Will Montero be the next to step up for the Mariners? (MyNorthwest.com)

The Mariners' growing position-player problem (Lookout Landing)

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