|Surging Seattle Mariners Continue Playoff Push against White Sox|
|Saturday, 18 August 2007 13:00|
The Seattle Mariners are battling for a playoff spot. It would give them confidence heading into the final weeks of the season to know Jeff Weaver's disastrous start is a thing of the past.
The right-hander looks to win his third straight start Saturday when the Mariners (67-52) face the Chicago White Sox (54-67) - a team Weaver pitched one of his best games of the season against last weekend.
On Sunday, Weaver (4-10, 5.64 ERA) threw a five-hitter and struck out a season-high eight on Sunday in a 6-0 road victory over the White Sox. On Aug. 7, he got the win in the Mariners' 10-3 victory at Baltimore despite allowing a season-high 11 hits in six innings.
Weaver's consecutive wins came after he lost his first four starts after the All-Star break. He began 2007 with his new club by losing his first six starts, during which he had a 14.32 ERA, and was then placed on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.
"It was kind of disappointing when you start out slow," said Weaver, who won the clinching game in the World Series for St. Louis last season before signing a one-year, $8,325,000 contract with Seattle in the offseason. "You know what you're capable of and when you're not helping contribute it's discouraging.
"But I've been around long enough that I know how long the season is. I just focus on putting those starts behind me and worrying about the next start. If you try to get everything back in one start, it makes it worse. I've been through that before."
Weaver follows up Friday's solid performance by Miguel Batista in the Mariners' 5-4 win over the White Sox. Batista allowed just three hits through six innings before walking the bases loaded in the seventh. George Sherrill came on in relief and gave up a grand slam to rookie Danny Richar, which cut Seattle's lead to one run but Chicago couldn't get any closer.
Raul Ibanez had three hits for Seattle, including his seventh homer in 10 games after hitting only six in his first 96. Seattle remained one-half game ahead of the New York Yankees for the AL wild card. The Mariners also are three games behind the Los Angeles Angels for the AL West lead.
The White Sox, meanwhile, have lost a season-high six straight as they dropped into a last-place tie in the AL Central with Kansas City. Chicago played on Friday without Paul Konerko, who will miss the rest of weekend series following the death of his grandmother.
Konerko is second on the team with 23 homers and leads Chicago with 67 RBIs.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Seattle -160 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Seattle -160 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
The White Sox will hand the ball to struggling rookie John Danks (6-10, 5.22) as they try to avoid their first seven-game losing streak since Aug. 12-20, 2005 - two months before winning their first World Series since 1917.
Danks has lost his last four decisions, including three straight starts. The left-hander allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings on Sunday against Seattle and gave up three homers for the second time in three starts.
"I feel fine right now," Danks told the White Sox's official Web site. "I felt like I had good life on my fastball at certain times ... I just got hit around, didn't have any command ... Sometimes this happens."
Danks also lost in Seattle on May 2 and has received just two runs of support against the Mariners this year.
Seattle is 5-1 this season against the White Sox, and has won six of the last nine meetings at Safeco Field.
by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us
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