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Rangers Crowned AL West Champions Again, Defeat Mariners 5-3

The Rangers can clinch the American League West on Friday with a win coupled with an Angels loss.

With a five game lead and only six games to play, the Texas Rangers are on the verge of clinching the AL West for a second consecutive season. Texas' magic number sits at two coming into Friday's series opening contest against the Seattle Mariners

Texas can clinch the AL West on Friday night with a win against the Mariners coupled with an Angels loss. Los Angeles is opening a three-game series against the Oakland A's, with ace Jered Weaver on the mound against an inept Oakland offense.

Matt Harrison gets the start for the Rangers in what could be Texas' last game before they're crowned AL West champions. On the whole, Harrison has pitched well for the Rangers, pitching to the tune of a 1.30 WHIP, .261 BAA and 3.42 ERA. Harrison has struck out 121 batters on the season in 173.2 innings of work. Harrison's last start came against the Mariners, a game in which he pitched 6 and 2/3 innings, allowing six hits while walking two and striking out nine en route to his 13th win of the season.

Seattle will counter Harrison with southpaw Anthony Vasquez. Vasquez, who is from San Antonio, has been awful in his brief time in Seattle, giving up 28 runs (22 earned) 35 hits while walking eight in 24 innings. Those numbers translate into a .330 BAA, 1.79 WHIP and 8.25 ERA. 

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.