Yankees-Mariners Preview

Andy Pettitte is an All-Star once again. However, he hasn’t

always pitched like one against the Seattle Mariners.

The New York left-hander looks for a third consecutive victory

while trying to help the Yankees match a season high with their

sixth straight win Thursday night against the Mariners at Safeco

Field.

Pettitte (10-2, 2.82 ERA) has enjoyed a strong first half and

was rewarded when his manager and AL All-Star skipper Joe Girardi

added him to the squad to replace injured Boston pitcher Clay

Buchholz.

It is the third All-Star selection for the 38-year-old Pettitte

and his first since 2001. He won for the fifth time in six

decisions Saturday, allowing three runs in six innings of an 11-3

victory over Toronto.

“He’s just been real consistent in his mechanics,” Girardi told

the Yankees’ official website. “It’s not how hard you throw it,

it’s where you throw it and how you change speeds, and how you

locate. He’s been outstanding this year.”

Pettitte has not been outstanding against the Mariners, going

10-11 with a 4.51 ERA. He is 2-3 in his last six starts versus

Seattle, but has a 2.76 ERA during that span.

Though the AL East-leading Yankees (53-31) dropped two of three

at home to Seattle last week, they have won four straight on the

road and 10 of 13 away from the Bronx.

Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer and Nick Swisher had three

hits as New York capped a sweep of Oakland with a 6-2 win

Wednesday. Teixeira has two homers and eight RBIs in his last five

games.

One night after hitting two home runs, former Mariner Alex

Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Wednesday. Sitting on

597 homers, Rodriguez has hit 32 in 108 games against the Mariners

since leaving Seattle after the 2000 season.

Swisher, who will find out Thursday if he is added to the AL

All-Star roster, is 8 for 17 in his last four games.

The Mariners (34-50) look to avoid a fourth straight loss after

being swept at home by Kansas City. Casey Kotchman homered twice

and drove in all of Seattle’s runs in a 7-3 loss to the Royals on

Wednesday.

The Mariners are 1-6 in July after opening the month with a 4-2

loss to the Yankees.

Ichiro Suzuki went 3 for 14 against the Royals, but is a

lifetime .389 hitter against Pettitte.

Seattle hopes Jason Vargas (6-4, 3.22) can avoid a third

straight loss when he opens the series.

The left-hander allowed six runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings

of a 6-1 loss at Detroit on Saturday. Vargas has given up nine runs

and 15 hits over 9 1-3 innings in his last two outings.

“I feel fine,” Vargas told the Mariners’ official website.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, so I better be OK.”

Returning home could help Vargas, who is 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA in

nine starts at Safeco.

In his only start against New York, Vargas allowed four runs in

four innings and didn’t receive a decision in an 8-4 win at Yankee

Stadium on July 2, 2009.