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Mariners Vs. Rays: AL Strikeout Leaders Felix Hernandez And James Shields Square Off

The Mariners (28-27) continue their homestand at Safeco Field with a four game series against the Tampa Bay Rays (29-26) starting Thursday night. Seattle is looking to win its sixth straight series, in a streak that started with a two game sweep over their division rivals, the LA Angels, back in mid-May. 

On the mound for the Mariners is their ace, Felix Hernandez (5-4 3.19 ERA). Hernandez was roughed up in his last start against the Yankees. In Saturday's game, Hernandez pitched seven innings, but surrendered four earned runs, walked five and gave up six hits.

Hernandez's 81 strikeouts is currently tied for the most in the American League with James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays.  Shields (5-3 2.15 ERA) will get the start for the Rays.

The Mariners who rank last in team batting average in the major leagues will have their hands full against the six-year veteran. Shields currently holds the third best ERA in the American League at 2.15. He has gone seven innings or more in all but one of his ten starts so far this season.

First pitch at Safeco Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT with coverage on ROOT Sports and 710 ESPN AM.

For more news and information regarding the Mariners and tonight's game head on over to SB Nation's Mariners blog, Lookout Landing.