When Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon announced the plan to recall pitcher Erasmo Ramirez from Triple-A Tacoma to start Wednesday's rubber game against the Rangers at Safeco Field, it wasn't for lack of options.
It was based, at least in part, on the right-hander's recent performance with the Mariners and Rainiers.
"I think he's done a nice job. We've called him up a couple times and he's pitched well for us. He's given us opportunities to win ballgames," McClendon said. "He's probably our most experienced guy down there. He's throwing the best down there. I think this is an opportunity that he's certainly earned."
Ramirez (1-5, 4.06 ERA) will be officially recalled before Wednesday's afternoon start, marking his sixth stint with Seattle in 2014. In turn, the Mariners will have to clear space on the 25-man roster as they continue their push to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
With a 5-0 victory over Texas (51-80) on Tuesday night, the Mariners improved to 72-59 and kept their half-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for American League's second Wild Card berth.
Facing a team in the thick of the playoff race doesn't seem to matter to Rangers veteran pitcher Colby Lewis, who makes his 24th start of the year Wednesday.
"For me, we're still trying to win every ballgame," Lewis said. "The bottom line is we want to win as many games as we can. That's the only thought process we have."
Lewis is 2-5 with a 3.65 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break. But he is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in his last three starts since tossing a shutout against the White Sox on Aug. 5. He allowed four runs in six innings in a 6-3 loss to the Royals last Friday.
"I've felt great every time I take the mound," Lewis said. "Some games things work out, and some games they don't. My last start I left some balls in the middle of the plate and they put some good swings on it. I just need to be conscientious with fastball location early in the game."
Lewis is 0-2 with a 6.61 ERA in three starts against the Mariners this season but hasn't faced them since May 20. He is 4-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 11 starts against them since the Rangers brought him back from Japan in 2010.
Rangers: Martin returning to leadoff
With Shin-Soo Choo on the disabled list, manager Ron Washington is going to start using Leonys Martin in the leadoff spot against right-handers. Daniel Robertson has been starting there against left-handers, but Martin is expected to leadoff on Wednesday against Ramirez.
Martin has been given chances to hit leadoff before but has never mastered the patience and selectivity associated with the spot. But with all the Rangers' injuries, Washington has few options against right-handers at the top of the order.
"If he goes up there, I hope it means him trying to get good pitches to hit and set the tone for us," Washington said. "I'm not going to tell him to take pitches and get a walk. Him being up there, I just want him to be particular at what he swings at. I have no issues with him swinging at the first pitch, just make sure you can put the barrel of the bat on it."
Mariners: Denorfia out
Right fielder Chris Denorfia was a late scratch from the lineup Tuesday because of a sore neck.
His availability for Wednesday's series finale is uncertain.
Denorfia, 34, is batting .244 in 16 games with the Mariners since the club acquired him from the San Diego Padres on the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
• The Rangers will likely bring out the left-handed bats against Ramirez, meaning Jim Adduci and Mike Carp might be in the lineup.
• Rangers outfielder Alex Rios was lifted in the ninth inning Tuesday for a pinch-hitter. He is dealing with a bruised right thumb that showed considerable swelling after the game and probably won't play Wednesday.
• Originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday, Felix Hernandez will start Friday when the Mariners begin a three-game series at Safeco Field against the Washington Nationals. The rest of the Mariners' rotation also receives two additional days of rest because of Thursday's off-day.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.