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05/01/10 8:50 PM ET

Fister, Wilson try to continue early success

The Mariners don't anticipate having to come off consecutive losses in games started by Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez too often. But that's their lot heading into the finale of the series against Texas.

Seattle now turns toward its newest hottest pitcher. Doug Fister's three consecutive quality starts may pale in comparison to the 18 straight which Hernandez had going prior to Saturday's 4 1/3 innings. The difference is that Fister's streak is still alive.

And the Rangers, after taking the wind out of Lee's sparkling Seattle debut and turning King Felix mortal, look to their own hot arm to complete a sweep. All four of left-hander C.J. Wilson's starts have been quality, averaging 6 2/3 innings and 1.25 earned runs.

With the arrival of Lee -- who threw seven blanks in what turned into a 12-inning, 2-0 loss on Friday -- the Mariners' staff is beginning to meet expectations. However, so is the offense. Consider that Seattle, with nine team homers, still trails Paul Konerko by two.

"With our offense, we have to be perfect in a lot of ways, and situational hitting is one that shows up [as] critical," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said after his club had gone 3-for-23 with men in scoring position in the first two games of the series. "Obviously, we're trying to address those right now."

Even before he takes the mound, Fister is a winner -- of some rotation tenure. He has earned his keep even beyond Lee's return. Instead, Ian Snell has was assigned to the bullpen when Lee returned on Friday.

Every one of Fister's five starts -- including this one -- has followed a Seattle loss, so the young right-hander is getting used to taking the mound with the responsibility of for cheering up the team.

He has responded well, after cracking the season-opening rotation as a long-shot.

"He was never out of the mix," said pitching coach Rick Adair. "He was fighting for a spot in the rotation, and now he's pitching every fifth day. It's been a pleasure to see how he has matured and his confidence has grown. He's still excited."

Rangers: Another May turnaround?
After drawing the blinds on their fourth straight losing April (11-12), the Rangers have taken the first step toward duplicating the May turnarounds of the last two years; they were 20-9 during May 2009 and 19-10 the year before. ... Matt Harrison is the first Texas pitcher to reach 14 wins in his first 31 games; he and Kevin Brown had been the only ones to get 13 in 30, but Brown's 14th win didn't come until his 33rd start in 1989.

Mariners: Figgins getting his walks
After going 1-for-3 with two walks on Saturday, Chone Figgins has more walks (19) than hits (17) on the season. That translates to a .353 on-base percentage compared to a .205 batting average. ... Wakamatsu said that Erik Bedard was fine the day after his 60-pitch bullpen. The lefty will likely throw one more bullpen and a simulated game, before a possible rehab assignment.

Worth noting
Texas has exploited Seattle's power shortage in taking four of the first five meetings with the Mariners: Rangers pitchers have allowed one home run in those five games, by Casey Kotchman off Chris Ray on April 9 in Arlington.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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