Having just completed one of their best-ever home stands (8-1), the Mariners after an off-day Thursday off open a three-game series Friday against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, a graveyard for Seattle ball clubs since 2008. The Mariners have not won a season series in Chicago since 2007, and are 3-16 in the park since the start of the 2008 season.
The White Sox, first in the AL Central, second in the AL in home runs, and fourth in runs scored, have dominated the contested the Mariners in two series. Chicago swept a three-gamer at Safeco Field April 20-22, and won two of three June 1-3.Seattle's win June 2 and came from a rarity: Ichiro hit two home runs, sparking the Mariners to a 10-8 triumph. Without those homers, Seattle would probably be 0-6 against Chicago this season.The White Sox have outscored the Mariners 37-23.Seattle's scheduled weekend starters, Jason Vargas Friday, Blake Beavan Saturday and Kevin Millwood (Sunday), have no record of success in Chicago. Vargas is 0-0, 4.91, Beavan has never pitched there and Millwood is 0-3, 4.85. A closer look:FRIDAY: LHP Jason Vargas (13-8, 3.53) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (9-9, 3.11)Vargas: The lefty continued his run of excellent starts Saturday, throwing two-run ball into the seventh in Seattle's 3-2 win. Vargas is 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA in his last 10 outings. Vs. White Sox: 0-1, 6.93 ERA in five career games, including four starts, covering 24.2 innings.Peavy: Peavy was hurt by shoddy defense last time out, as the Sox committed a season-high four errors against the Royals Saturday. He needed 110 pitches to get through 5.1 innings and took the loss after allowing nine hits and five runs (three earned). Vs. Mariners: 4-1, 2.21 ERA in eight starts covering 53.0 innings.SATURDAY: RHPBlake Beavan (8-7, 5.00) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (5-2, 2.76)Beavan: Beavan continues to evolve on the mound, as he's beginning to limit damage in an inning before things snowball. In his latest start Sunday, he showed an ability to get key ground-ball outs in pressure situations. Vs. White Sox: 0-1, 4.50 ERA in one career start (2012).Quintana: Quintana had a resourceful outing in his last start at Kansas City. He allowed nine hits, but only two runs over seven innings. He wound up taking a tough-luck loss -- his first road setback of the season. Vs. Mariners: Quintana has never started against the Mariners and had one relief appearance.SUNDAY: RHP Kevin Millwood (4-10, 4.29) vs. RHP Gavin Floyd (9-9, 4.56)Millwood: The veteran right-hander kept the Mariners close Monday in another no-decision. With a win over the Indians, the team improved to 5-5 when Millwood didn't factor into the decision. Vs. White Sox: lost to Chicago 7-4 April 22; 1-7, 3.82 ERA in 13 career starts covering 75.1 innings.Floyd: Floyd has one victory and three no-decisions in his past four starts and is coming off his shortest outing of the season, 2.1 innings.Vs. Mariners: lost to Seattle 10-8 June 2; 4-4, 4.73 ERA in 15 career games, including 13 starts, covering 78.0 innings.NOTES: Mariners have won a season-high eight in a row, the club's longest winning streak since a nine-game blitz from June 23-July 1, 2007 . . . Mariners have two winning streaks of at least seven games this season, first year that's happened since 2001 . . . Mariners are 33-30 at home, and haven't had a winning record at Safeco Field since 2009 . . . Mariners have won four series since the All-Star break, a major league high . . . Seattle has won 11 consecutive games against the AL Central and is 21-7 in its last 28 against that division . . . Mariners have won 15 of last 16 at Safeco, the best 16-game stretch in club history . . . Seattle's sweep of the Indians was its first at Safeco since 2003 . . . The Mariners need six more wins to match their entire victory total (67) of 2011.