Series Preview: Montreal Expos

Shiggy has been nearly unhittable (Getty Images)

Seattle (42-19) faces Montreal (37-26) in a battle that figures to pack the house at Safeco Field. The Expos will be without the services of their superstar, Vladimir Guerrero (back), who batted .301 with eight homers and 33 RBI in his first 50 games.

Safeco Field, Seattle, WA

Seattle (42-19, 17-11 home) 1st place: AL West
Montreal (37-26, 14-15 away) 2nd place: NL East

Tuesday, June 10, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Gil Meche (R) (8-2, 3.10 ERA)
Montreal: Javier Vazquez (R) (5-3, 3.51)

Wednesday, June 11, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Joel Pineiro (R) (5-4, 4.02)
Montreal: Livan Hernandez (R) (5-4, 3.68)

Thursday, June 12, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Ryan Franklin (R) (4-4, 3.51)
Montreal: Claudio Vargas (R) (3-2, 3.38)

WHO'S HOT?

Seattle:
Ichiro comes into the series tied for the Major League lead in hits with 83. He also boasts the best batting average on the team at .328. Bret Boone has also been hot of late with a current average of .321 and a team-leading 17 homeruns, good for fourth in the AL. The Mariners bullpen stood out over the past week. In all, they pitched 11 innings of scorless baseball. Gil Meche comes into his start on Tuesday with eight wins, putting him near the top in the American League. He will face Montreal's Javier Vazquez on Tuesday. This is probably the premier match-up of the series. Vazquez is looked at as one of the best hard-throwers in the National league and can beat any pitcher on any given night. This should definitely be a good match-up, but then again you never know.

Montreal:
These aren't your usual 1990's Montreal Expos that everyone has grown to know and not love. Don't look now but the Expos have worked their way up to second place in the National League East, past the high-rollers in New York and Philadelphia. The Expos also lead the Wildcard in a race that is expected to heat up as the season continues. The Expos are led by second baseman Jose Vidro, who is third in the NL in average at .335, pitcher Javier Vazquez, who is tied for third in the NL in strikeouts, and OF Vladimer Guerrero who is one of the best all around players in the Majors. Guerrero, however, was placed on the disabled list over the weekend and will miss the series. That's something Seattle fans at Safeco Field hate to see, but something Mariners' manager Bob Melvin can't be too displeased about.

WHO'S NOT?

Seattle:
The Mariners have won 11 of their last 12 and don't have many people that haven't been hot. Carlos Guillen struggled at the plate more than anyone else on the road trip, and will look to get back in a groove as he was throughout May. As far as pitching goes, there haven't been any real low points as of late.

Montreal:
TJ Tucker had an ERA of 13.50 over the past week, giving up six earned in only four innings. Dan Smith had an ERA of 14.73, giving up six earned runs in 3.2 innings. On the offensive side of the ball, third baseman Fernando Tatis was 0 for 14 over the last week. His star has faded since joining Montreal from St. Louis a couple years back.


Richie Stone is the brain behind the series previews at InsidethePark.com. Let him know what you think at stoneyrich11@aol.com.

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