American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, August 6th
(All times eastern)
Seattle Mariners (51-59) at Baltimore Orioles (57-51), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Seattle - Jason Vargas (12-7, 3.71)
Baltimore - Chris Tillman (4-1, 2.70)
(Sports Network) - Jason Vargas attempts to become the first Seattle pitcher
in nine years to win six consecutive starts when the crafty left-hander takes
the hill for the Mariners in tonight's opener of a three-game series with the
Baltimore Orioles from Camden Yards.
Vargas enters this evening's contest as one of the hottest pitchers in
baseball during the past month, having amassed a stellar 5-0 record and a 1.64
earned run average over his last six outings and yielding one run or fewer in
four of those assignments. He extended his outstanding streak by limiting
Toronto to two runs and five hits in seven sharp innings last Tuesday, and was
recently named the American League's Pitcher of the Month for July.
With a win tonight, the 29-year-old would become the first Mariners hurler to
record six straight victorious starts since Joel Pineiro accomplished the feat
from June 16-July 13, 2003.
"Your confidence goes up with a stretch like that, but at the same time, you
have to keep doing what you're doing that has made you successful," Vargas
told the Mariners' official site. "You just have to keep going out there and
taking it one [start] at a time."
Vargas has also pitched well when facing the Orioles over the course of his
career, having posted a 1.69 ERA over five lifetime meetings despite a 1-1
record. He's 0-1 with a 1.84 ERA in two previous trips to the Camden Yards
The consistent southpaw will be taking on a Baltimore squad that's received
some very fine pitching of its own as of late, with the Orioles notching back-
to-back shutouts to take the final two games of an important series at Tampa
Bay over the weekend.
After Wei-Yin Chen combined with two relievers on a six-hitter in Saturday's
4-0 triumph over the Rays, five Baltimore pitchers teamed up to allow just
three hits as the Orioles edged Tampa by a 1-0 count in 10 innings yesterday
Miguel Gonzalez worked the first seven innings for the Orioles and surrendered
just two hits and four walks in a duel with Rays ace David Price. Luis Ayala
threw a scoreless ninth to earn the win, while All-Star closer Jim Johnson
retired the side in order in the bottom of the 10th to come through with his
32nd save, tied with Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney and Pittsburgh's Joel
Hanrahan for tops in the majors this season.
"This time of year, I'm sure you're noticing there are a lot of really well
pitched games," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "It's pretty normal
from my experience. Late July through early August you'll see some really well
Taylor Teagarden was the offensive hero for Baltimore on Sunday, with the
backup catcher plating the game's only run with a two-out double in the top of
Chris Tillman will try to extend the Orioles' remarkable run of excellent
pitching when the former Mariners farmhand goes head-to-head with Vargas in
tonight's opener. The hard-throwing righty has done quite well since joining
Baltimore's rotation in early July, registering a 4-1 record with a 2.70 ERA
in five starts.
Tillman wasn't at his best in Tuesday's encounter with the Yankees in New
York, but benefited from a wealth of offensive support in an 11-5 win. He was
reached for five runs (4 earned) on eight hits before exiting after five
The 24-year-old, a second-round pick of Seattle in 2006 who came over to the
Orioles as part of a blockbuster trade with the Mariners for veteran pitcher
Erik Bedard in 2008, has won both his career starts against his onetime
organization and permitted just three runs -- one earned -- through 14 1/3
innings in those tests. His first big league effort of 2012 came against the
Mariners in Seattle on July, with Tillman holding them to two unearned runs
while finishing two outs shy of his first career complete game.
Seattle comes into this series having won eight of its last 10 bouts, but is
just 1-2 thus far on its current nine-game road trip after dropping two of
three to the Yankees this past weekend. The Mariners managed only five hits in
falling by a 6-2 score in Sunday's rubber match.
Jesus Montero knocked in both Seattle runs with a pair of singles, while
starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma was touched for four runs (3 earned) in five
innings to take the loss.
The Orioles took two of three games from the Mariners at Safeco Field back in
July and are 6-3 against Seattle since the start of the 2011 campaign.
Baltimore swept a three-game set from the M's at Camden Yards last season.
08/06 10:39:53 ET