One game out of the wild card, the Orioles will welcome a Mariners team into town that's won eight of their past ten games. Seattle has the lowest team OBP, the lowest team SLG, and the lowest team wOBA in all of MLB. By just about any measure, they are the absolute worst offense in baseball. Is that the talent level of the team or is it their stadium? We heard when the O's were in Safeco that the stadium had the fewest extra base hits hit in that park.
There are a couple of mildly interesting wrinkles in this game. One is that the Mariners starter is Jason Vargas. I did not want the O's to trade for Vargas. You should not have wanted the O's to trade for Vargas. He could come in to Camden Yards tonight and shut out the Orioles. A better option would be if the O's hit a bunch of home runs off of Vargas. He's allowed 25 on the season - 19 of which have been allowed on the road. Seriously, hit some home runs. They should tee off on this guy as if he was Tommy Hunter. This is as close as the O's will get to facing one of their own pitchers. Vargas has a 4.67 ERA on the road.
The other interesting thing will be to see if Chris Tillman can duplicate the dominant performance he laid down in Seattle just before the All-Star Break. It won't be in Safeco, but it'll still be against the Mariners, so if he can work whatever he worked, that will be very good for the O's.
This is the beginning of a ten-game homestand that will be played against teams with sub-.500 records. This is the time where the Orioles want to bank some wins. Maybe they will even do it. By the way, one of those sub-.500 teams is the Boston Red Sox. I am pointing this out purely for schadenfreude purposes, although Boston could change their fortunes vis-a-vis a .500 record before they come in to Baltimore - more awesome will be if they don't.
Anyway, for tonight, the team should not worry about what's to come. Tonight they should worry about Seattle, and they should beat Seattle, and hopefully they will do so tomorrow and the next day as well. If any games get away over the next seven, they'll be wishing they could have them back as they try to hang in the wild card picture.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Dustin Ackley - 2B|
|Robert Andino - 3B||Michael Saunders - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Jesus Montero -DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||John Jaso - C|
|Matt Wieters - C||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Chris Davis - DH||Mike Carp - 1B|
|Lew Ford - LF||Casper Wells - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Eric Thames - RF|
|Omar Quintanilla - 2B||Munenori Kawasaki - SS|
At the very least, if the O's could avoid being beaten by Munenori Kawasaki, that would be great. Although he has an awesome name and you never really know when he's just going to climb on top of you and hump you. No, I don't know either. I may not want to know.