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GameThread: Mariners (46-72) @ Orioles (41-77), 7:05pm

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The Seattle Mariners come to town for a three-game death match between the team with the third-worst record in MLB and the team with the second-worst record in MLB. At five games back of Seattle in this crucial contest, a series win would have the Orioles moving in the right direction to slide farther down in the 2011 draft.

I probably saw the Mariners more than any other team growing up. It just seemed like whenever my dad and I would go see a game randomly it was the Mariners. Those were the days of young Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and A-Rod, among others. I feel like every game we ever went to with the Mariners, Jay Buhner hit a home run. Needless to say, those days are long gone. Nowadays the two players that give the franchise some semblance of respectability are Ichiro and Felix Hernandez, who just pitched yesterday so we won't be seeing him against us in this series.

We will be seeing the likes of Doug Fister, whose name is fair game for mockery in the course of this game thread. Lest we get ahead of ourselves, though, let's remember that Fister held us to three hits over 7 innings back in April. That was part of a hot opening to the year for Fister, but his ERA's been steadily rising ever since. Fister looked like an out-of-nowhere Cy Young candidate with a 1.29 ERA on May 2, but that was as low as it got and it's been inflating to its current 3.86. The lineup that Fister shut down in April featured Nolan Reimold as the DH, Lou Montanez in left field and Julio Lugo at second base, with Adam Jones leading off. Safe to say it's a different-looking Orioles team that will be looking to get a crack at Fister tonight.

Brad Bergesen gets the start for the O's, looking to follow up his complete-game victory over Cleveland with another strong outing. He'll be helped by going against the Mariners, who've scored the fewest runs out of all major league teams. Their ratio of 3.24 runs/game is nearly half a run worse than ours.

Seattle also belongs to the "fired their manager this season" club but since their new manager isn't Buck Showalter, there's no way they can outshine us in the "play better for the new manager" department. I simply refuse to believe it.

Former Orioles prospect (and noted lookalike of The Wire's Detective Roland Pryzbylewski) Garrett Olson is in the Seattle bullpen. He's given up 15 runs in 21 innings. That sounds like our Garrett, all right. Who did we get for him again? Felix Pie, you say? Now that was quite a trade. Pie will be manning LF tonight. If you look really hard you can find a chart breaking down his value to the team somewhere on this site.

Go O's!


Lineup

Seattle Mariners @ Baltimore Orioles

08/16/10 7:05 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners Baltimore Orioles
Ichiro Suzuki - RF Brian Roberts - 2B
Chone Figgins - 2B Nick Markakis - RF
Russell Branyan - DH Ty Wigginton - 1B
Jose Lopez - 3B Luke Scott - DH
Franklin Gutierrez - CF Adam Jones - CF
Casey Kotchman - 1B Felix Pie - LF
Adam Moore - C Matt Wieters - C
Michael Saunders - LF Cesar Izturis - SS
Josh Wilson - SS Josh Bell - 3B