Just because winning is what the Mariners strive for doesn't mean it will be easy, though, as their remaining 17 games are against teams with above .500 records. On Saturday they'll face off again against the leaders of the American League West, the Rangers.
"It's still first and foremost about us winning games for us," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "We want to win as many games as we can this year. If we mix in a newer player or younger player it's because we think it's the right thing to do that particular night, not just for the player, but also to help us win a ballgame."
That was evident on Thursday night in Toronto when Wedge replaced five starters in the final innings.
"Getting those kids off that turf last night helped, especially with the long travel we knew we were going to have," Wedge said. "Now we've got a challenge here [in Texas], but we just want to play good baseball. Winning is first and foremast, and that always leads the way for me."
The challenge will get stiffer on Saturday as Rangers manager Ron Washington said Mike Napoli will be activated from the disabled list and start at catcher. Napoli has been sidelined since Aug. 11 with a strained left quad muscle.
"We're just looking for him to come back and get back in his game," Washington said. "We're not looking for him to make a big difference the first time out. We just want him to help the pitchers get through their innings and be a force. If he finds his rhythm at the plate, he's going to be fine, because he's a threat."
In Napoli's absence, Geovany Soto has started the majority of the games behind the dish. Washington said the two will split time at catcher.
"He's done a great job," Washington said. "He's played with a lot of energy and got some big hits for us. He's a leader. He's done a great job with the pitching staff."
Mariners: Vargas takes the mound
Jason Vargas gets the start on Saturday, his third of the year against the Rangers. The southpaw's results against Texas have been mixed, as he's 1-1 with a 4.73 ERA.
Michael Saunders homered in the ninth inning on Friday to give him 15 on the season. Saunders is the first Mariner since Franklin Gutierrez in 2009 to have at least 15 home runs and stolen bases in a season.
Rangers: Darvish surpasses 200 strikeouts
With nine strikeouts on Friday, Yu Darvish became the 16th rookie in Major League history to fan 200 or more in a season. Daisuke Matsuzaka was the last to do it, in 2007 with the Red Sox.
Scott Feldman will make his 26th appearance and 20th start of the season on Saturday. Feldman is 6-11 with a 4.97 ERA.
Left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross could be activated from the disabled list on Saturday. Ross, who has been sidelined since Aug. 30 with tightness in his left forearm, is 6-0 with a 1.78 ERA out of the bullpen.
Washington said Jurickson Profar, a switch-hitter, will start at one of the middle infield positions on Saturday, as he wants to see him hit from the right side against Vargas, a lefty.
Adrian Beltre will likely be back at third base on Saturday after starting two games in a row at designated hitter, Washington said.
John Blake, Rangers vice president of communications, said the club will place the flags at the Ballpark in Arlington at half-staff on Saturday to honor Americans slain in Libya this week.