Both Seattle and Minnesota are looking for a momentum shift after skidding recently. The Seattle Mariners won the first four games of their recent 10-game road trip but dropped the final six, suffering a 4-3 defeat Thursday afternoon to cap a four-game sweep at the hands of Tampa Bay. The Minnesota Twins, meanwhile, have lost nine of their last 10 and have now gone their last 19 innings without scoring a run after being no-hit by Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
The lowest-scoring team in the majors last season, Seattle has shown a little more punch at times but has still been shut out four times already while ranking near the bottom of the American League in batting average and on-base percentage. The Twins, who own the worst record in baseball at 6-18, rank last in the majors in most pitching categories, including ERA (5.77) and opponent batting average (.293). The Minnesota rotation has turned in just five quality starts through 24 games.
Twins Mariners Betting
When: 10:10 PM ET, Friday, May 4, 2012
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), ROOT Sports (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Carl Pavano (1-2, ERA 4.91) vs. Mariners LH Jason Vargas (3-2, ERA 3.37)
Pavano has been able to eat up innings for Minnesota, working into the seventh in four of his five starts, but he has been far from dominating, allowing six home runs and 20 runs (18 earned) in 33 frames. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA against the Mariners, but his lone victory was a complete-game shutout back on May 17, 2005.
Vargas was a tough-luck loser in his last outing at Toronto, giving up two runs on four hits in six innings. He had won three of his last four starts before that, including his lone previous outing at home (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER vs. Cleveland Apr. 18). In five career games (four starts) against Minnesota, Vargas is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA. He allowed nine runs to the Twins in 10 2/3 innings last season.
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1. The Mariners have won Vargas’ last four home starts and his last five starts in series openers.
2. Twins LF Josh Willingham is 0-for-11 with five strikeouts against Vargas. The rest of the Minnesota roster is a combined 21-for-62 (.339).
3. Minnesota has won just 14 of its last 61 games overall and has lost the opening game in 22 of its last 26 series.