Mariners one of AL's best since the break

Let's point this out first about the Seattle Mariners: They may be a last-place team, but before anyone thinks the Orioles will walk right into SafeCo Field and rip off three easy wins, consider that the Mariners have the AL's fourth-best record since the All-Star break.

.683 - Oakland (41-19)
.607 - Orioles (37-24)
.583 - Texas (35-25)
.567 - Seattle (34-26)

The Mariners also have the third-best ERA in the American League at 3.76, meaning that over these last three series the O's have faced the teams with the top three ERAs in the AL.

The Mariners have a winning record at home at 11-8 vs. the AL East and they lead the majors in fielding percentage at .989.

That is a lot of good stats for a team that has a 70-77 record, but remember they are in a very tough division and their offense stands in the AL basement in several categories to offset some of this. Seattle ranks 14th and last in the league in runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS.

While the Mariners have lost six of their last nine games, they are 19-17 since Aug. 10 and had winning records in July (15-11) and August (15-12) before starting 6-8 this month.

The Orioles lost their first game of the year that they played vs. the Mariners, but have since won five in a row. The Orioles have pitched well against Seattle with a 2.64 ERA in the six games between them, and the Mariners have a team average of just .216 vs. O's pitching in 2012.

One-time Mariner Chris Tillman has been excellent in two games this year against his former club, going 2-0 with an ERA of 0.57 in those starts. Over 15 2/3 innings, Tillman has allowed just seven hits and three runs (one earned) with three walks and 12 strikeouts. Mariners hitters are just 7-for-55 (.127) against the right-hander in those games.

Can Tillman pitch the O's to a series opening win at Seattle tonight?

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