The Rangers return home for a short three-game homestand against the Seattle Mariners this weekend. The teams split a four-game series last weekend with both clubs scoring 11 runs and winning by scores of 4-3 and 3-1.
Seattle ace Felx Hernandez will not pitch in the series. Rangers ace Yu Darvish will start Friday night's series opener. Here are some other things to watch for:
Mariners' momentum: Seattle will bring some momentum to Texas, avoiding a sweep at home against Detroit by beating reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and the Tigers on Thursday 2-0. Kyle Seager had a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh to break the scoreless tie.
Stopping Seager: Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is only batting .217 for the season, but he has a six-game hitting streak, including Thursday's game-winning double. Seager also gives Yu Darvish fits. He has seven RBIs against the Rangers ace, the most of any player against the Japanese pitcher. Seager had a two-run double off Darvish in a three-run first inning last Thursday as the Mariners beat the Rangers 3-1.
AL West race: The second-place Rangers are three games in front of third-place Seattle in the American League West. The Mariners are already 5 1/2 games behind frontrunner Oakland as the A's are off to a fast start with a 12-4 record. Seattle has been outscored by 15 runs for the season.
Rangers still slumping: The Texas offense can't break out. The Rangers have scored four or fewer runs in seven straight games, batting .209. In Thursday's 6-2 loss Thursday to the Chicago Cubs, the Rangers scored on home runs by Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz. The Rangers' offensive struggles aren't unprecedented and can't be blamed solely on the absence of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli. The Rangers were inconsistent at the plate last season and had a 10-game stretch last July when they scored four runs or less.
Saunders in Arlington: Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders will pitch for the first time in Arlington since beating the Rangers in last year's AL Wildcard game with Baltimore, 5-1. Saunders started against the Rangers last Friday and allowed an unearned run in seven innings as he got a no-decision. His overall record is not good against Texas with a 3-7 record and a 5.79 ERA.