Mariners, Rockies continue set in Colorado

A pair of teams at the bottom of their respective standings will meet up in the second encounter of a three-game interleague series at Coors Field as the Seattle Mariners take on the Colorado Rockies.

One of the bright spots in a season that has started off poorly for Colorado has been the pitching of rookie starter Christian Friedrich, who will be on the mound for the Rockies on Saturday.

After beginning the year in Triple-A, Friedrich will be making his third career start in the majors when he takes the hill on Saturday.

The 24-yeard-old was a first-round selection in the 2008 amateur draft by the Rockies and has impressed in his first taste of major league competition this season. In just two starts Friedrich has only allowed two runs on 11 hits over 13 innings pitched while striking out 17.

Friedrich accumulated just a 19-24 record and 4.04 ERA over five seasons in the minors but had improved this season with a 3.00 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Friedrich was then called up earlier this month to help stabilize a Rockies' rotation that does not have a starter with an ERA below 4.20.

In his first start Friedrich earned his first big-league victory by allowing one run over six innings while striking out seven. The rookie topped that performance in his second career start last Monday by going seven innings while allowing one run and striking out 10. He did not factor in the decision as the Rockies fell 3-2 to the San Francisco Giants.

Seattle will counter with Jason Vargas, who will be trying to rebound from a rough outing in his last start.

Vargas went six full innings but ran out gas towards the end of his appearance in a 6-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox last Monday. Vargas gave up a pair of home runs in a three-run fourth inning and ended with a line of five runs on seven hits over his six innings.

Before that game Vargas had looked to be settling in with two straight starts in which he allowed only one run while striking out at least five batters. Vargas had brought his ERA down to 2.79 after those outings, the lowest it had been since the first week of the season, but the loss against Boston gives him a 3.28 ERA to go along with a 4-3 record entering this start.

In his career Vargas has been very good in interleague play with a 2.96 ERA in 11 career starts against the National League, however he has had a great deal of trouble against Colorado. He owns a hefty 16.55 career ERA in three starts, the highest he has against any opponent.

Seattle won the first game of the series 4-0 thanks to Kevin Millwood, who pitched a shutout while allowing just two hits and striking out seven.

Alex White pitched well enough in an attempt to get his first win of the season but fell short after allowing three runs (two unearned) over seven innings on seven hits while also striking out seven. Colorado has now lost back-to-back games after consecutive wins earlier in the week.

Kyle Seager went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI for Seattle and Mike Carp launched his third home run of the season to lift Seattle to a win that snapped a four- game losing skid.

These teams last met on the diamond in June of 2009 when the Colorado Rockies swept a home series at Coors Field. The Rockies have also won six of the last eight meetings between these Western-based squads.