TONIGHT: Red-hot Mariners' pitching staff has taken the fun out of Kingdome

May 10, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

SEATTLE -- There will be no rest for the weary Oriole hitters this weekend. There was a time when teams couldn't wait to get to the Kingdome. Short fences and gopher-ball pitchers made it a delightful place to visit.

But that has all changed, and the Mariners may now be awell-armed as any team in the American League. "I've seen good young pitchers before," said veteran first baseman Pete O'Brien, "but never grouped on one staff like this one."

Seattle's team earned run average is a sparkling 3.54, third besin the American League, and it's getting better. There are no soft touches in manager Jim Lefebvre's rotation the Mariners have survived nicely without bullpen ace Mike Schooler, on the disabled list for at least two more weeks. Seattle is on a five-game winning streak.

The Mariners won two of three from the Orioles in Baltimore twweeks ago and have won 11 of 15 against them since the start of last season.

Tonight (10:35) the Orioles will face Scott Bankhead (2-2, 4.13)the injury-plagued righthander who was the principal figure in the trade that sent Jose Tartabull to Kansas City a few years ago. Bankhead has helped solidify the Mariners' rotation.

Tomorrow night righthander Erik Hanson (3-1, 3.14), considerethe best of the young bunch by many scouts, will get the call, and on Sunday it will be 6-foot-10 lefthander Randy Johnson (2-3, The three pitchers charged with keeping the Orioles icontention will be Jeff Ballard (2-3, 4.30) tonight, Jose Mesa (3-3, 2.23) tomorrow (10:05 p.m.) and Ben McDonald (1-2, 8.80) Sunday (4:35 p.m.).

All three games will be televised by Channel 2 and broadcast bWBAL-AM 1090. This series winds up a nine-game road trip for the Orioles.

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