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Mariners-Rangers Preview 2009-05-13


Mariners-Rangers Preview 2009-05-13
A clutch homer from Josh Hamilton in his first game back from the disabled list wasn't particularly surprising. What was somewhat perplexing, however, is that it took him so long to produce against the Seattle Mariners.

After helping the Texas Rangers put together another big game at the plate, Hamilton looks to continue his success against the Mariners as the teams play the middle game of their series Wednesday night.

Texas (18-14) went 9-4 with Hamilton out due to a strained left ribcage muscle. The Rangers batted .284 and averaged 5.0 runs during that span, but are clearly better with the star slugger in the middle of their lineup.

On Tuesday, he hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning to help Texas earn a 7-1 win.

The All-Star center fielder was off to a slow start before his injury, batting .242 with two homers and 10 RBIs in his first 18 games. That followed a breakthrough 2008 in which he hit .304 with 32 homers and 130 RBIs.

It took Hamilton some time to settle down in his first game back, struggling in his first three trips to the plate before his two-run shot gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead. It was his only hit in five at-bats after posting a .536 average (15 for 28) in his previous eight games against the Mariners.

"That one at-bat, it felt good," Hamilton said. "Anytime you can make plays or do something with the bat like hit a home run, it helps the confidence out."

While Hamilton is finally healthy, biceps tendinitis may keep closer Frank Francisco out for a while. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Francisco could miss the entire series.

In his first full season in that role, Francisco has converted all nine of his save opportunities and has not allowed a run in 14 appearances and 25 2-3 straight innings dating back to last season. C.J. Wilson, who saved 24 games last season, might take over for now.

Brandon McCarthy (3-1, 6.10 ERA), who will start Wednesday, never gave the Rangers a chance to turn the game over to Francisco in his last outing. He surrendered a career-high seven runs and seven hits while walking three in four innings of a 9-4 loss to Oakland on Thursday.

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 7.02 ERA in three starts and two relief appearances versus Seattle, which has scored two runs or fewer in five of its last seven games.

"We have to make adjustments or maybe we have to look into making some changes," Mariners first-year manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Seattle (16-17), which has lost six of seven, will hand the ball to Jarrod Washburn (3-2, 2.68). He has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his six starts.

The veteran left-hander gave up two runs - one earned - and six hits in seven innings during a 3-1 loss to Kansas City on Thursday.

Washburn is 8-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 26 starts and three relief appearances against the Rangers.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 13, 2009

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