A run of 7-3 in their last 10 games has moved the Mariners into second-place in the AL West race. Manager Eric Wedge and company will look to keep the streak going when they visit the White Sox tonight at U.S. Cellular Field.

Impressive rookie Michael Pineda (6-2, 2.30) will be on the bump for the Mariners while Chicago will send struggling lefthander John Danks (0-8, 5.25) to the hill. Game time is slated for 8:10 PM PT the live baseball lines opened the game a virtual ‘pick’ with a total of 8 which has not changed yet.

The Mariners (31-28) have gained sole possession of second-place in the American League West, 2.5 games behind the Rangers (who take on the Detroit Tigers tonight) and two games ahead of the Angels. Seattle has captured six straight series and is 14-4 over their past 18 games and they’ve been winning despite very little production from their offense, particularly two of their high-priced veterans.

Ichiro Suzuki Seattle Mariners battingWhat’s wrong with Ichiro?

Ichiro Suzuki has a lifetime average of .325 but is hitting just .264 this season. He’s never had fewer than 206 hits in any of his 10 big league seasons but he’s on pace for 175 this year. Suzuki is still among the elite outfielders and base-runners in the game going 14 for 18 in stolen base attempts. But because he’s set the bar so incredibly high, fans sound the alarm when a player of his caliber experiences such a dramatic drop in production.

Chone Figgins was one of the top free agents on the market following the 2009 season and the Angels wanted to keep their versatile eight-year veteran. But Figgins instead signed a four-year, $36 million dollar contract with the Mariners and money aside it’s been a deal that’s been bad for both sides.

Figgins hit just .259 and had 42 stolen bases in 2010 but was caught 15 times, the most in the American League. This season has been considerably worse for ‘Figgy’ who is currently mired in a 1 for 18 slump that has seen his batting average drop to 184. Overall the Mariners are last in hitting (.230), 27th in runs (211), 28th in on base percentage and 29th in slugging percentage.

Mound Magic

The Mariners are 6th in the majors in ERA (3.27), fourth in quality starts (38) and 4th in opponent batting average (2.39). The top of the rotation featuring Felix Hernandez and Pineda has combined for 12 wins with an ERA under 3.00. Closer Brandon League has 16 saves while David Pauley (0.76) has worked 35 1/3 innings and allowed just three earned runs.

Pineda has worked 71 1/3 innings striking out 73 and allowing just 50 hits. He’s been as consistent as it gets, going 3-0 on the road and 3-0 at home. Pineda will need to pay close attention to Paul Konerko and Alexi Ramirez who have been on a tear over the last week. Konerko is hitting .533 with two homers and six runs batted in while Ramriez is batting. 462 (12 for 26).

Dark days for Danks

To put it mildly, John Danks is suffering through a season from hell. He’s 0-8 with a 5.25 earned run average and his 15 victories from last year are just a distant memory.

He may have hit bottom in his last outing on May 29 against the Blue Jays when he allowed nine runs and nine hits including three home runs in a forgettable four inning stint. Danks problems have carried over to the team which is 1-10 in his 11 starts meaning that players who have backed the normally reliable lefthander have taken a bath to the tune of $-1,067 units, worst in baseball.

The White Sox (28-33) took two out of three when the teams met in May with the Mariners scoring just five runs in the series.

Overall Chicago is 20-8 in the last 28 series meetings and 27-7 at U.S. Cellular field. The White Sox are on a streak of 7-1 to the ‘over’.

The weather forecast is calling for hot and humid conditions with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s. There’s a 30 percent chance of rain with winds of 14 miles per hour.