4/23 Keys to victory

Following a bad loss on Friday, the Rangers bats were able to manufacture runs late in the game Saturday and Sunday to take the series from Oakland. Before heading back on the road, a brief two game set against the reeling Mariners begins tonight in Arlington. Lone Star Dugout takes a look.

Seattle Mariners (5-9) at Texas Rangers (8-10)

Pitching Matchups

Monday, 7:05 PM: Cha Seung Baek (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Kevin Millwood (2-2, 4.91 ERA)

Tuesday, 1:05 PM: Jarrod Washburn (0-2, 4.42) vs. Vicente Padilla (0-3, 6.00)

Series Notes:
Monday night's starter, Cha Seung Baek , has been unhittable in his career against the Rangers. In three starts, Baek is 3-0 with a 0.83 earned run average allowing just two earned runs in 22 2/3 innings.

Keys To Victory

1. Enough free passes
Over the span of Thursday night in Chicago and Friday night in Arlington, Rangers pitchers combined to issue 22 walks. On Friday alone, those free passes accounted for seven of the A's 16 runs. It was the fifth time in club history they've reached such a dubious record. Seattle happens to hold the record for working the most walks out of Rangers pitching in a game when they received 12 free passes in an 18-inning game in June of 2004. Upon first glance, this wouldn't seem like a problem against the Mariners who find themselves dead last in the American League with only 27 walks through Sunday's action. Seattle finds themselves in the midst of a six game losing streak and their offense has been suffering through a lean period much like the Rangers. Even Ichiro, whose struck out in a game three times only four times in the past six years, did it twice in the same week against the Red Sox and Rangers. But to issue walks like that against a team with the potential of Seattle's is just asking for trouble.

2.Closer by committee?
It's not at the forefront of anybody's mind yet, but manager Ron Washington hasn't ruled out taking a closer by committee approach for the immediate future should Eric Gagne's hip injury take longer to heal than expected. "That's why we consider it a team," Washington had to say. "Somebody goes down, somebody has to pick it up. We can't be concerned with what we don't have here. If Gagne can't go, we'll figure out a way to close out the end of the ballgame." Sunday afternoon marked the third consecutive day of work for Akinori Otsuka. On a day he was scheduled to be off, the set-up man was forced to come in and record the final two outs following Eric Gagne's injury. Should a save situation come up in tonight or tomorrow's game against Seattle, the Rangers may be forced to look elsewhere for the final three outs of the game. In their careers, C.J. Wilson has two career saves and Joaquin Benoit has one. Other possible candidates could include Scott Feldman and Willie Eyre, who have no saves in the big leagues, but 21 and 20, respectively, in the minor leagues.

3. And who says pitching wins
A steady handed defense is evidently a major key to on-field success for the Texas Rangers so far this season. Over their recent road trip, the Rangers committed three errors in each of their two losses in Seattle and eight over the span of the six game trip. In their eight wins they've collected, the club has committed only two errors. However, in it's 10 losses the Rangers have committed 13 miscues on defense. Put it all together and it ties the Rangers with the New York Yankees for 12th in the American League with a .974 fielding percentage.

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