Rangers Vs. Mariners: Playoffs In Sight For Texas

Sep 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan (26) tags out Texas Ranger designated hitter Michael Young (10 as he attempts to steal during the fourth inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

The Rangers are inching closer to another playoffs berth and have to go through the struggling Mariners next.

With back-to-back wins over the Angels, the Rangers are knocking on the door of a third consecutive AL West Division title with just more than two weeks left in the season. Things couldn't be more different for the Mariners, though, as they continued to fall toward the cellar of the AL by getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles.

To add insult to injury, their last two losses came in a combined 29 innings, as the Mariners were unable to come away with an extra-innings victory on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

A sweep will be no easy task for the Rangers, though, as they'll have to travel to Safeco Field in Seattle to earn those victories and Martin Perez will have to best Hisashi Iwakuma on Friday night. While the two pitchers have very similar ERAs, Perez has seen much less play time in 2012 and the Rangers have lost in each of his last seven appearances. While he earned the loss in just one of those seven games, he has struggled some, including a seven-hit, two-home run outing against the Rays Sept. 9.

Iwakuma hasn't fared much better as of late, allowing a similar seven-hit, two-home run performance in his most recent start. After back-to-back losses, Iwakuma's ERA has swelled from 3.14 to 3.39 in two starts.

The first pitch in Friday's game is scheduled to be thrown at 9:10 p.m. CT and will be televised on KTXA and Root Sports-Northwest.

For updates and perspective on the Texas Rangers, head on over to Lone Star Ball or stop by SB Nation Dallas. For more on the Seattle Mariners, please visit Lookout Landing. You can also check out everything we have to offer at Baseball Nation.

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