When the Seattle Mariners have played at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, "King" Felix Hernandez has been a pauper. Dominant everywhere else, Hernandez has struggled in Texas, going 5-8 with a 4.35 ERA in 16 career starts.
A day after beating the Rangers, 9-2, the Mariners will need Hernandez to overcome his Kryptonite if they want to replicate Tuesday's feat. In his two starts against the Rangers this year (both at Safeco Field), Hernandez gave up 10 hits and three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in a 4-3 loss on April 11, and 11 hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-2 loss on May 25.
The 27-year-old ace has only given up double-digit hits in one other start this season.
Still, the Rangers aren't taking any chances against the 2010 Cy Young Award winner, who is third in the AL with a 2.70 ERA and fourth with 123 strikeouts. Derek Holland will take the mound for the Rangers riding a 14 1/3 scoreless innings streak against Seattle. He pitched a two-hitter in his last start.
"King Felix may not have his best stuff, but he always figures a way to stay in games," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's only human. Every now and then they're going to get him. For the most part, he's always in game."
Before Tuesday's loss, the Rangers had won nine of their last 11 games, rebounding after a six-game losing streak. The Rangers have been fighting with Oakland for first place in the AL West for much of the season, and they now trail the A's by a half-game.
Rangers: Cotts and Nathan share Rangers' June award
The local Rangers media voted both Neal Cotts and Joe Nathan as the team's Players of the Month for June, the first shared award since Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro in 1999.
Cotts went 4-1 in June with a 0.59 ERA while holding opponents to a .189 batting average. Nathan recorded 11 saves in the month, while compiling a 0.59 ERA.
• Leonys Martin had two hits on Tuesday, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. It is the longest-active hit streak in the AL, and the longest for a Texas player this season.
Mariners: Hernandez faces familiar foe
When Hernandez pitches against the Rangers, a secondary rivalry is always in play. Former Mariner Adrian Beltre, now an All-Star in Texas, and Hernandez are good friends.
"We always have fun. It's always a battle," Hernandez said. "I'm just always trying to strike him out and he's always trying to hit a homer against me. If he hits a homer, he's probably going to be running around backward. If I strike him out, I'll do something else. That's what we talk about every time. It's awesome. It's awesome to face him."
Beltre is 4-of-7 against Hernandez this season and 7-for-22 in his career (.318) with a homer and six strikeouts.
• The Rangers are 30-12 since the start of the 2009 season against Seattle in Arlington.
• Raul Ibanez his 20th home run of the season on Tuesday, and the 41-year-old slugger has six in his last eight games.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.