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The Texas Rangers enter the final two weeks of the season holding a four-game lead over the Oakland Athletics as they pursue their third consecutive American League West title. The Rangers still have seven games left to play with the Athletics, so they can’t get caught looking ahead when they visit the Seattle Mariners for a three-game series on Friday night. Texas won two of three from the Los Angeles Angels and is 9-1 in its last 10 series.
The Rangers will be without Josh Hamilton for at least the series opener. Hamilton, who leads the majors with 42 homers, is dealing with a sinus infection and vision issues and is scheduled to be examined in Texas on Friday. Adrian Beltre is due for more tests for abdominal discomfort Friday, but he slammed the winning two-run homer Thursday that may have finished off the Angels. The Mariners have dropped four straight and six of seven.
Rangers Mariners Betting
When: 10:10 PM ET, Friday, September 21, 2012
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, KTXA (Texas), ROOT (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39)
The 21-year-old Perez will be making his fourth start and 10th appearance of the season. He was sensational in his last outing, blanking the Mariners with 4 1/3 innings of hitless relief while striking out five and walking one. Perez has pitched well in his three starts, allowing five earned runs in 17 1/3 innings, but the Rangers haven’t won with him appearing in a game since June 30.
Iwakuma has lost his last two starts. He gave up two runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings last time out at Texas. He lost his previous start against Oakland, lasting only 3 2/3 innings and allowing five runs to snap a four-game winning streak. Iwakuma has been much better at home, with an ERA exactly two runs lower at Safeco Field (2.57) than on the road.
1. Beltre needs three RBIs to reach 100 for the third consecutive year.
2. Seattle has homered in 10 consecutive games. The Mariners have also gone deep 21 times in their last 18 home games.
3. Rangers 3B Michael Young is riding a nine-game hitting streak.