08/03/10 7:57 PM ET
Righting Mariners' ship won't be easy vs. Wilson
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said the solution is a simple one: "Play better."
"There are situations we've had big innings that have hurt us, whether it's pitch location or swinging at the right pitches," Wakamatsu said. "A lot of the players are going to have to make those adjustments, but as a coaching staff our job is to identify what causes those. In Minnesota we had bases loaded and swung at five balls out of the zone. These are things we attack, but they have to make the adjustments on it."
The task won't be an easy one for the Mariners, especially with C.J. Wilson heading to the mound for the Rangers.
Wilson, who is having a career year, earned the win against Oakland after giving up three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings in his previous start. In two starts against the Mariners this season, Wilson is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA.
Expect a dogfight.
Seattle starter Doug Fister, who battled a fatigued shoulder earlier in the season, is coming off his strongest outing since a stint on the 15-day disabled list. He gave up five runs in five innings against Minnesota but three unearned runs contributed to his loss.
"The score didn't reflect it," Wakamatsu said, "but I thought Doug Fister had the best stuff and the best command he's had since coming off the DL. I thought he was down in the zone better, and the action on his pitches was much sharper."
Fister has not won since May 14.
Rangers: Hamilton returns to lineup
Josh Hamilton was back in the lineup on Tuesday for the series opener after getting a cortisone shot in his right knee to reduce the inflammation from his patella tendinitis. He went 0-for-4. ... The Rangers, after 57 home games, have drawn 1,624,804 fans to the Ballpark in Arlington, an increase in 41,900 over the same point last season. ... The Rangers are 20-12 against the American League West, including 6-7 on the road. ... Dustin Nippert, who is on the 15-day disabled list after getting hit in the head by a line drive two weeks ago, is expected to be sent out on a rehabilitation assignment this week.
Mariners: Sweeney rehab end, decision looming
Mike Sweeney's 20-day rehab assignment expires Wednesday. His next step could be a stop with Class A Everett, but plans for the slugger have not been announced.
"He had had a big day down there [Monday] with a couple homers and played first base," Wakamatsu said. "He's got one more day on his rehab and is doing well."
What happens after Wednesday?
"We'll find out. I don't know," Wakamatsu said.
Seattle's Jose Lopez (strained left hamstring) will return to third base Wednesday. "Lopez ran out there today and said he feels good, but we want to give him one more day to be safe, so he'll be in there [Wednesday]," Wakamatsu said. ... The Mariners have dropped the opening game in eight of their past nine series. ... Chone Figgins (27), Ichiro Suzuki (24) and Franklin Gutierrez (15) make the Mariners one of three teams with at least three players with 15 or more stolen bases. The Rays and the Mets are the other teams. ... The Rangers have won six of their past eight road series since the beginning of June. ... The Rangers-Yankees game on Aug. 11 will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.