Day Time TV Starters
Tonight 7:05 HTS Gil Meche (1-4, 4.34) vs. Pat Rapp (3-2, 5.32)
Tomorrow 7:05 HTS John Halama (5-0, 4.06)vs. Sidney Ponson (2-2, 5.59)
Thursday 7:05 13, 50 Paul Abbott (1-1, 6.97)vs. Mike Mussina (1-6, 4.42)
Radio: All games on WBAL (1090 AM) and WTOP (1500 AM)
The Mariners arrive at Camden Yards having won five of their last six games and lead the AL West by a game over the streaking Texas Rangers. At23-18, they haven't been further over .500 since finishing the 1997 season as the AL wild card, which earned them a Division Series matchup against the Orioles. Things have changed dramatically since. Former Orioles GM Pat Gillick is now overseeing a Mariners renovation that has included the trade of center fielder Ken Griffey and the lightning signing of free-agent pitcher Aaron Sele (4-2, 4.17) after the Orioles failed to follow through on a four-year, $29 million offer sheet. Former Orioles reliever Arthur Rhodes (3.06 ERA) has become rejuvenated in his new surroundings. Gillick also took a gamble on rejected New York Mets outfielder Rickey Henderson. In return, Henderson has led off the last two games with home runs, bumping his all-time record for leadoff homers to 77. Mariners leadoff hitters were scuffling with the AL's lowest batting average and second-lowest on-base percentage before Henderson was acquired. The Mariners are 9-3 against the AL East compared to 14-15 against the rest of the league. The Orioles haven't lost a season series to the Mariners since1995 and hold a 27-13 edge over them at Camden Yards. The Orioles swept afour-game home series as part of last September's13-game winning streak. Long known for a collapsible bullpen, the Mariners are 21-1 this season when leading after six innings.
(Mariners statistics, Page 6E)