Padres-Mariners Preview

The Seattle Mariners have been their most productive offensively

this season when facing the San Diego Padres.

Unfortunately for the Padres, opposing the Mariners has only

served to continue their problems at the plate.

Seattle will try for its fifth straight win over San Diego on

Saturday night when the teams continue their series at Safeco

Field.

The Mariners (40-42) outscored the Padres (37-46) 14-2 during a

three-game sweep at Petco Park in May. San Diego hit .156 in that

series, striking out 35 times.

Those offensive woes continued in Friday’s series opener as

Seattle won 6-0 behind Jason Vargas’ six-hitter.

The Padres entered the weekend having won four straight and

seven of eight, but they were shut out for the 13th time this

season, the most before the All-Star break since the 2004 Montreal

Expos. The all-time record is 18 set by the Padres in their

expansion season in 1969.

Vargas’ gem helped the Mariners snap a three-game losing streak.

They had lost seven of nine while hitting .211 and averaging 2.6

runs. Carlos Peguero, Jack Cust and Adam Kennedy all drove in a

pair of runs Friday.

“The offense was very, very good tonight, consistent up and down

the lineup,” manager Eric Wedge said. “They squared up on the

fastball and were aggressive at times and looked at a lot of

pitches at times.”

Seattle is hitting a major league-worst .228 this season, but

has batted .294 against San Diego. Brendan Ryan is 7 for 14 with

three doubles and five runs scored in four games against the Padres

while Peguero has five RBIs in three contests.

Chase Headley is one of the few players producing consistently

for San Diego. He had half his team’s hits Friday and is batting

.464 the last 14 games.

Headley and his teammates may not find it any easier to score

off Doug Fister (3-8, 3.18 ERA), who has been outstanding his last

two starts, giving up one run over eight innings in each.

Fister scattered eight hits in a 2-1, 10-inning win over Florida

on Sunday as the offense continues to have problems providing ample

run support.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about personal stats,” Fister,

who has an AL-low 2.4 run-support average, told the Mariners’

official website. “It’s about how we’re doing and the morale in the

clubhouse.”

The right-hander is making his first start against the

Padres.

Cory Luebke (1-2, 2.86) makes his second start for San Diego

after pitching five scoreless innings of one-hit ball in a 4-1 win

over Atlanta on Sunday.

“He was nasty today. In the first inning, he hit every spot. All

of those pitches could have gone either way. But they’re perfect

pitches,” Atlanta’s Jordan Schafer said. “He came in and pretty

much shut us down.”

The left-hander, who has also made 29 relief appearances this

year, made two relief appearances against the Mariners in May,

allowing two runs in 2 1-3 innings.