Joe Saunders had a historically bad career in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington heading into Tuesday's start. With the exception of a solid outing in the AL Wild Card game last year for Baltimore, the lefty had been shelled in Arlington throughout his career.
On Tuesday night, the Rangers got him for 10 hits, but they were all singles and not much damage was done as they dropped the series-opening game to the Mariners to fall out of first place in the AL West after Oakland topped the Chicago Cubs with a late rally.
Heading into the final two games of the series against Seattle, the Rangers could've really used a win on Tuesday because two of the top starting pitchers in the American League await on Wednesday and Thursday.
Wednesday night the Rangers face one of the game's best in Felix Hernandez, who has actually had a bit of a rough go of things in his career against the Rangers, comparatively speaking, anyway.
Hernandez, who's 8-4 with a 2.70 ERA this year, is 12-18 with a 3.87 ERA over his career against the Rangers in 232 2/3 innings of work — the most of any opponent. In Rangers Ballpark, in particular, Hernandez has struggled, working 97 1/3 innings and racking up a 4.35 ERA with a 5-8 record.
Thursday's starter for the Mariners, Hisashi Iwakuma, doesn't have quite the track record against the Rangers that Hernandez does but the second-year pitcher is having a really solid 2013 with a 7-3 record and a 2.42 ERA.
In his 1 1/2 seasons with the Mariners, Iwakuma is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA against the Rangers in 35 innings of work, coming as both a starter and in a relief role last season. At Rangers Ballpark, Iwakuma is 0-1 in two outings (one relief) with a 5.40 ERA in 8 1/3 innings.
The Rangers will need to continue those trends to bounce back from a disappointing loss on Tuesday night and get back in the win column.