Well, that dream of a perfect NFL season lasted about three hours, as the Cardinals fell short against the Saints in the Hall of Fame Game. (Hey, at least it lasted longer than Arizona’s quarterback controversy—nice effort there, Kevin Kolb.) Back to the diamond Monday with a play on the Mariners and lefty starter Jason Vargas. Seattle had a tough go of it in the Bronx over the weekend, dropping two of three to the Yankees, but they still arrive in Baltimore having won eight of 10 and 14 of 20. Tonight, they give the ball to the red-hot Vargas, who has turned in seven consecutive quality starts since the end of June. Over this span, Vargas is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA (he’s yielded just 10 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings), and Seattle is 6-1, including 3-0 on the road. And even though the won-loss numbers don’t show it (he’s 1-1, and the Mariners are 2-3), Vargas has posted sensational numbers in five career starts against the Orioles, allowing just six runs in 32 innings (1.69 ERA).
Meanwhile, Baltimore has won its last two series against the Yankees and Rays (both on the road), and it has won five of seven overall. However, the Orioles have not played well at home over the last five weeks, going 4-11 since June 26 (ironically, the same day Vargas turned his season around). And while Seattle has won seven straight games following a loss, the O’s have dropped seven of 10 as a favorite and nine of their last 11 series openers. Baltimore is also batting just .225 vs. left-handed pitching (.306 vs. right-handers) in its last 10 contests.
Record: 30-24 (14-6 last 20)