SEATTLE -- I walked to Safeco Field today alongside throngs of lime-green shirted fans on their way to watch the Seattle Sounders take on their rivals from Vancouver at neighboring Qwest Field.
They were expecting a crowd of 56,000. It’s pretty impressive to see Major League Soccer thriving like this, especially in the Pacific Northwest.
The Mariners are hardly thriving. They drew an announced crowd of 22,602 for Friday night’s victory over the Twins. But after winning 61 and 67 games the past two years, and languishing in last place again this year, the Mariners have started playing better baseball.
They are 10-1 in their past 11 games at home. They are 20-13 overall since the All-Star break. And their run differential for the season is a surprising -7 (470 runs scored, 477 allowed).
Tonight, it’ll be a battle of two lefthanders riding some real positive momentum. Seattle’s Jason Vargas is 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA in his past nine starts, and Scott Diamond, who’s been good all year, is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his past four starts.
Update: Ben Revere (sore ankle) will be available off the bench tonight and could return to the lineup Sunday. Denard Span (sore clavicle) is a possibility to play Sunday but he's behind Revere progress-wise.
Also, the Twins are considering how best to proceed with Nick Blackburn. Class AAA Rochester, the bullpen and status quo are possibilities. No decisions have been made, but he's clearly at another crossroads.
1. Jamey Carroll, 2B
2. Darin Mastroianni, CF
3. Joe Mauer, 2B
4. Josh Willingham, DH
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, LF
7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
8. Matt Carson, RF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS
Starting pitcher: LH Scott Diamond (10-5, 2.97 ERA)
1. Dustin Ackley, 2B
2. Trayvon Robinson, LF
3. Jesus Montero, C
4. Miguel Olivo, DH
5. Kyle Seager, 3B
6. Justin Smoak, 1B
7. Casper Wells, RF
8. Michael Saunders, CF
9. Brendan Ryan, SS
Starting pitcher: LH Jason Vargas (13-8, 3.56 ERA)
Safeco Field. First pitch: 8:10 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib