What's buzzing:
34-35
1 - 5
35-34

Rangers-Mariners Preview

AP - Sports

The Seattle Mariners may be showing signs of improvement at the plate, but Hisashi Iwakuma is all too familiar with their struggles.

Iwakuma takes the ball Sunday as the Mariners try to salvage a victory in the finale of their three-game series with the Texas Rangers.

Seattle (34-34) is batting .202 and has plated 10 runs during an 0-5 start to an eight-game homestand. It managed two hits in a 1-0 defeat in Friday's opener before showing some signs of life by collecting 11 singles in Saturday's 4-3 loss.

The Mariners, who are in the midst of their longest slide since dropping eight in a row from April 15-22, stranded multiple runners in the three separate innings Saturday.

"We are in a funk and we've got to find a way to come out of it,'' Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''We had a lot of good things happen tonight but the one bad thing is we didn't the win.''

Iwakuma (4-3, 2.79 ERA) has lost a career-high three straight starts at home behind a 5.31 ERA. He tossed 16 consecutive scoreless innings while going 1-0 in his first two games at Safeco Field.

The right-hander, though, could use some help from the lineup, as he's been backed by an average of 1.73 runs in Seattle. He allowed three runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 3-2 home loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

He's 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA over his last three starts against the Rangers, allowing two runs in eight innings of a 6-2 win at Texas on May 20.

Robinson Cano will try to help provide Iwakuma with some offensive support, as he's batting .352 in 18 games. However, only four of his 25 hits in that stretch have gone for extra bases.

He drove in one run while getting a pair of singles Saturday, improving to 12 for 32 (.375) with 10 RBIs over his past eight games versus Texas.

Still, Seattle has struggled in nearly every facet while dropping six of eight at home to the Rangers dating to last season, batting .229 while compiling a 5.42 ERA - 6.04 from the rotation.

While the Mariners are trying to avoid falling below .500 for the first time since May 31, the Rangers (34-34) are back at the break-even mark thanks to a three-game winning streak.

Adrian Beltre is hitting .409 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 11 games after connecting for a run-scoring double Saturday. The third baseman, who spent 2005-09 with Seattle, owns a .390 average over his past 18 meetings with his former team.

He's also 10 for 25 with three homers off Iwakuma.

A strong display at the plate may be needed with Texas turning to rookie Nick Martinez (1-3, 4.63), who is 0-2 while surrendering 18 runs and five homers with eight walks in 13 innings over his last three starts. That's in stark contrast to his first two starts after being moved into the rotation, when he went 1-0 while yielding two runs in 11 innings.

The right-hander is coming off his worst performance yet, surrendering a season-high eight runs and two homers in two innings of Monday's 17-7 defeat to Cleveland.

"What we have to do is get him reacclimated to where he was when he first got here - attacking the strike zone and using all his pitches," manager Ron Washington told the team's official website.

View Comments (1)
  • Fan death raises guard rail questions

    Fan death raises guard rail questions

    The death of a longtime Braves season-ticket holder raises questions about the planned height of guard rails at their new stadium scheduled to open in 2017. The Braves say they had safety in mind when making plans for SunTrust Park even before … More »

    AP - Sports - 27 minutes ago
  • Mark Shapiro a perfect fit at president for forward-looking Blue Jays

    Mark Shapiro a perfect fit at president for forward-looking Blue Jays

    The longtime Cleveland Indians executive has the power to make an already promising situation even better. … More »

    Big League Stew - 1 hour 17 minutes ago
  • Jays want to keep GM Anthopoulos

    Jays want to keep GM Anthopoulos

    The ownership of the Toronto Blue Jays says it would ''love'' to keep general manager Alex Anthopoulos and has been in discussions about extending his contract. The news comes on the day Rogers Communications announced the hiring of Cleveland … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 30 minutes ago
  • Investigators probe baseball fan's death from fall at Atlanta game

    By David Beasley ATLANTA (Reuters) - A 60-year-old man who plummeted to his death from the upper deck of the Atlanta Braves' baseball stadium on Saturday died of blunt force trauma, a medical investigator said Monday, but the cause of his fall has … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 10 minutes ago
  • Blue Jays name Mark Shapiro as next president and CEO

    Blue Jays name Mark Shapiro as next president and CEO

    Mark Shapiro is the next president of the Toronto Blue Jays. The team says Shapiro will replace longtime president and CEO Paul Beeston at the end of this season. "Mark is a seasoned baseball veteran, whose leadership, drive for excellence, and … More »

    The Canadian Press - 2 hours 14 minutes ago