An early September series between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners has been a chance for the Rangers to pad their postseason chances the last several years. The Mariners will try to turn the tables and take advantage of the stumbling Rangers when they visit for the start of a four-game series on Thursday. Seattle is a half-game behind the Detroit Tigers in the race for the second American League wild card while Texas owns the worst record in the majors.The Mariners continued their climb up the standings by taking two of three at Oakland, which leads the wild card standings, and they will play their next two series against bottom dwellers Texas and Houston. The Rangers have lost five in a row as they continue to set records for the number of players used in an injury-marred campaign. The Texas offense totaled five runs in losing three straight at Kansas City this week and it has not scored more than three in any of the last five contests.TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Seattle), FSN Southwest (Texas)PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners LH Roenis Elias (9-12, 3.97 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Robbie Ross Jr. (2-5, 5.63)Elias suffered the loss in three straight starts despite allowing a total of four earned runs in that span. The Cuba native struggles to work deep into games and issued a total of 12 walks in 15 innings in the past three outings. One of those came against Texas on Aug. 25, when Elias surrendered one run on three hits and four walks while striking out six in five innings.Ross was pushed up a day to give right-hander Scott Baker an extra day to rest a stiff neck and is trying to follow up a strong effort. Ross is making the transition back to the rotation and worked five hitless innings on Saturday at Houston, striking out five before being lifted after 70 pitches. The 25-year-old worked an inning in relief at Seattle on June 15 and was knocked around for three runs on four hits and a walk.WALK-OFFS1. Mariners 3B Kyle Seager has hit safely in eight straight games and homered in each of the last two.2. Texas RHP Yu Darvish (elbow) will be examined Thursday and is unlikely to pitch again this season.3. Seattle RHP Chris Young, who failed to make it out of the first inning in his start on Monday, came through a bullpen session on Wednesday with no problems and is penciled in to start on Saturday.PREDICTION: Mariners 5, Rangers 2
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