THREE-GAME SERIES AT SAFECO FIELD
Friday, 9:10 p.m. • FSN, 1500-AM
RHP Carl Pavano (1-2, 4.91 ERA) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.38)
Saturday, 8:10 p.m. • FSN, 1500-AM
RHP Jason Marquis (2-0, 6.23) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (2-1, 2.23)
Sunday, 3:10 p.m. • FSN, 1500-AM
RHP Nick Blackburn (0-3, 6.64) vs. RHP Hector Noesi (1-3, 7.83)
With manager Ron Gardenhire back in Minnesota for his daughter's college graduation at Southwest Minnesota State, bench coach Scott Ullger will serve as interim manager. Gardenhire said he would be a phone call away if Ullger needs him, but Gardenhire trusts his staff to run these games. ... Now that Drew Butera is back on the roster, will he catch Friday to help get Carl Pavano on track? Pavano had zero strikeouts in last Friday's start against the Royals. He had two zero-strikeout games last year, with both coming in May. With a week between starts this time, Pavano planned to work on his mechanics, hoping to add more velocity. ... Denard Span had a career-best 12-game hitting streak end in Wednesday's no-hitter by Jered Weaver.
After sweeping three games in Detroit and winning their series opener at Toronto last Friday, Seattle didn't win again in the final six games on its 10-game road trip, which concluded Thursday at Tampa Bay. Three of the four losses to the Rays were by one run, and the other was by two runs, so the Mariners have been close. ... They have a young team, so they were expected to struggle again after losing 95 and 101 games the past two years. ... The Twins have the No. 2 pick in this June's draft, so it's worth noting that Seattle second baseman Dustin Ackley was the No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft, behind Washington star Stephen Strasburg. Another key player is Jesus Montero, a designated hitter and part-time catcher obtained from the Yankees for pitcher Michael Pineda, whom New York lost to a season-ending shoulder injury.