Mariners-White Sox Preview

The Seattle Mariners have gone through a few periods this season

when they couldn’t win a game. They much prefer their latest

stretch, where one loss never leads to another.

The Mariners have won six straight series for the first time in

a decade, and they should feel good about their chances for a

strong start against the host Chicago White Sox on Monday night as

rookie phenom Michael Pineda opposes the winless John Danks.

Seattle (31-28) lost seven consecutive games in early April,

four straight in the middle of that month and six in a row again in

May, so manager Eric Wedge’s team knows a thing or two about

slumps.

Right now, though, the Mariners are playing as well as any team

in the majors. They’ve followed all six of their losses since May

13 with a victory, and pulled out their sixth consecutive series

Sunday, bouncing back from another defeat. Seattle blew a 5-3 lead

in the eighth, but Miguel Olivo’s tiebreaking three-run shot in the

bottom of the inning provided a 9-6 victory.

“The guys dug deep today,” Wedge told the Mariners’ official

website. “And that’s what you need to do. That’s just part of the

process. You play it all the way through. … Our guys are doing a

(heck) of a job of that right now.”

It’s been 10 years since Seattle’s played so consistently. The

last time the Mariners won this many series in a row was during

their 116-win 2001 season, when they reeled off an incredible 14

consecutive series victories from July 27-Sept. 20.

The losses have mounted for Seattle on Chicago’s South Side

recently, however. The Mariners have lost eight consecutive games

and 12 of 13 overall at U.S. Cellular Field, and they dropped their

fourth straight series to the White Sox (28-33) by losing two of

three last month in Seattle.

Ozzie Guillen’s team, which is 1-2 on its 10-game homestand

after Sunday’s 7-3 loss to Detroit, had the luxury of avoiding

Pineda (6-2, 2.30 ERA) at Safeco Field, though.

It won’t miss him Monday. Pineda has pitched seven innings and

allowed one run or fewer in three of four starts, though he left

without a decision with that exact line in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to

Baltimore.

The right-hander has had quality starts in all five of his

outings on the road, where opponents are hitting .193 against

him.

“God-willing he stays healthy, I’ve said (he would be) Rookie of

the Year since spring training,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said. “His

stuff is just so good. He just pounds the zone, and it looked like

he found his slider … if that’s on, it’s pretty much good

night.”

Danks (0-8, 5.25) hasn’t had many good nights in 2011, and his

performance May 29 at Toronto certainly ranked as his worst. The

left-hander gave up nine runs and nine hits – including three

homers – over four innings in a 13-4 loss as he became the first

White Sox pitcher since Eddie Smith in 1942 to start 0-8.

Smith lost his first 10 decisions that season.

“I’m excited to get back out there. It has been a long seven or

eight days, so it’s good to get a little bit of a breather,” Danks

told the White Sox’s official website. “But at the same time, I

want to get back out there and try to make up for the last

one.”

His recent history against the Mariners indicates he’ll have an

excellent chance to do so. Danks is 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA in five

starts versus Seattle since the 2009 All-Star break.