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Orioles on deck: What to watch Monday vs. Mariners, plus series matchups

Orioles (65-65) vs. Mariners (66-65)

Where: Camden Yards

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First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 The Fan

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.75 ERA) vs. Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales (0-1, 7.40)

Series matchups

Offense (MLB rank)

Runs per game: Orioles (4.87, ninth); Mariners (4.63, 17th)

Average: Orioles (.265, fifth); Mariners (.259, 12th)

Home runs: Orioles (194, third); Mariners (148, 23rd)

OPS: Orioles (.765, 10th); Mariners (.742, 21st)

Pitching (MLB rank)

Team ERA: Orioles (4.82, 28th); Mariners (4.46, 15th)

Starters' ERA: Orioles (5.52, 29th); Mariners (4.79, 22nd)

Bullpen ERA: Orioles (3.78, seventh); Mariners (3.93, 10th)

Fielding (MLB rank)

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Fielding percentage: Orioles (.984, 14th); Mariners (.983, 23rd)

Errors: Orioles (75, 16th most); Mariners (83, 10th most)

UZR/150: Orioles (-6.0, 29th); Mariners (7.0, first)

Defensive runs saved: Orioles (-11, 18th); Mariners (7, 14th)

What to watch

1. Separation time. With 32 games to go, this could be a big series for the separation in the playoff race that Buck Showalter was talking about. The Orioles' weekend series in Boston makes them the hottest team in the wild-card competition. With four straight wins, they're just two games behind the Twins for the second wild card, and have only two teams in between — the Angels and Mariners, who are both a half-game ahead of the Orioles. A series win, or a sweep, would be huge for the Orioles at this time of year, both to stay hot and perhaps even get the upper hand in the race.

2. Trey tremendous. Since seeing his average slip to .282 on Aug. 20, Trey Mancini is batting .478/.519/.739 with eight RBIs during a six-game hitting streak. Mancini has two three-hit efforts in the past three games and that has brought his season average up to .293. See if he can make it seven straight productive games tonight.

3. Snap back. The big key over the weekend as the Orioles surged back to .500 was the pitching. Of course scoring 16 runs Friday night and seven more Saturday night helped. But the Orioles have allowed just four runs over their past three games after giving up at least five runs in six of the previous seven games. Tonight, Chris Tillman takes the mound for a second straight turn through the rotation, though it's not clear if he's there to stay. He allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings his last time out and said he's feeling like he's getting back to where he should be. Perhaps tonight the results will show it.

Orioles lineup

SS Tim Beckham

3B Manny Machado

2B Jonathan Schoop

CF Adam Jones

LF Trey Mancini

1B Chris Davis

DH Mark Trumbo

C Welington Castillo

​​​​​RF Craig Gentry

jland@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JoshLandSun

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