Iwakuma has won both starts against the Rangers this year and looks for his 14th win and fifth in a row Friday night in Arlington.The Mariners (76-63) opened this four-game set with Thursday's 10-2 rout after they had dropped nine of the first 15 meetings with their AL West rivals.Those woes can't be attributed to Iwakuma (13-6, 2.90 ERA), who has a 1.69 ERA in beating Texas twice this season. The Mariners have captured his last five outings, with the right-hander going 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA.He has had trouble with Adrian Beltre, who is 10 for 28 against him. Alex Rios is 4 for 20 and Leonys Martin 2 for 16 in the matchup.Iwakuma is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA in his last seven starts versus the Rangers. He's 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 10 road outings in 2014 as he tries to match Felix Hernandez for the staff lead in victories.The Mariners remained one-half game behind Detroit for the AL's second wild card after building a nine-run lead in the third inning."This is a game that really mattered for us. If we want to stay in the race, we've got to start early," said Robinson Cano, who notched his first four-RBI game with Seattle. "When they're out of the race, you don't want to play around with them."The rout allowed manager Lloyd McClendon to remove five of the first six hitters in the lineup with his club in the midst of a 13-day stretch without a break.Texas (53-87) has dropped six straight for its longest losing streak since an eight-game slide July 6-13. The Rangers have totaled nine runs while batting .216 during the skid, though they ended a five-game home run drought when Rougned Odor went deep with two outs in the ninth inning Thursday.There is good reason for Texas' problems. The Rangers, who are the first to be eliminated from playoff contention, have now used 63 players and 40 pitchers this season -- both records -- after right-handers Spencer Patton and Lisalverto Bonilla debuted Thursday.The Rangers will start Scott Baker (3-3, 5.23), who was originally scheduled to pitch Thursday before he was pushed back one night due to a stiff neck.Baker gave up two runs over 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory in last Friday's 13-6 rout at Houston and is looking to win three straight starts for the first time since June 29-July 23, 2011, with Minnesota.The veteran right-hander is 3-4 with a 4.57 ERA in 10 career starts against the Mariners, who he last faced over three years ago.It's unclear if Baker's batterymate will be Robinson Chirinos, who missed his fourth game in a row Thursday with a stiff neck. Emergency catcher J.P. Arencibia was behind the plate since manager Ron Washington gave Tomas Telis the night off after the rookie backup had started five of the club's previous six games.
When Ron Washington resigned, the Rangers lost perhaps the best manager in franchise history. He led the Rangers to more 90-win seasons and more World Series appearances than they had in their entire history before he got there.