The southpaw comes into the game 7-4 with a 3.64 ERA. The Mariners' offense has excelled with Vargas on the mound lately, producing 28 runs in his last three wins. Runs were hard to come by Friday night, but Kyle Seager singled in Ichiro Suzuki in the seventh to give Seattle a 1-0 victory.
"I'll take that every time," Vargas said about the run support after lasting 5 2/3 innings on Monday. "I'd like to have stayed out there a little longer and give the bullpen more rest, but I'm glad to take a win."
"It just says a lot about his toughness and says a lot about his belief in himself," manager Eric Wedge said.
Runs may be hard to come by against Saturday's opponent. The Dodgers counter with reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who on any given night can deliver a pitching performance comparable to the one thrown by the Mariners' staff Friday. However, he hasn't had the results Dodgers fans have grown accustomed to recently.
After starting the season where he left off last year with a 4-2 record and a 1.97 ERA, Kershaw has become suddenly human in his last three starts. The lefty has allowed 10 earned runs in 19 2/3 innings pitched against the Astros, Brewers and Phillies in those games. In his last start, Kershaw didn't factor into the decision after he went seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits, one of which was a homer by Placido Polanco.
"He used his changeup early," manager Don Mattingly said about his ace after Monday's game. "He left one slider up to Polanco. To me, that's what he does. He's not going to give in when he gets in trouble. He bears down and gets himself out of most stuff."
Kershaw is suffering from a flareup of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot. However, he said it doesn't affect his throwing.
"It's not going to stop me from pitching," Kershaw said. "It's just annoying."
Mariners: Saunders continues to improve
At the start of the Mariners' last road trip, Michael Saunders was struggling at the plate, hitting .224. He came back from that road trip with a .277 average, which leads the team.
"I think that obviously this game you're going to have your cold streaks, you're going to have your hot streaks," he said. "I feel like obviously I was seeing the ball well, I think I was getting myself into good counts to hit in."
Saunders went 1-for-4 at the plate Friday night.
Dodgers: Mattingly utilizing DH spot
With the Dodgers kicking off Interleague Play on the road against the Mariners, Mattingly has some options with his lineup to lessen the workload for some of his regulars thanks to the designated hitter spot.
Juan Rivera was the DH on Friday, and Mattingly said he expects Andre Ethier to DH on Saturday and to fill the spot with either Rivera or Bobby Abreu on Sunday.
"I use the DH to get guys off their feet who play every day," Mattingly said. "We're a little better cut out for the DH with Abreu."
Kershaw is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and eight strikeouts in his career against Seattle.
Both Rivera and Abreu have registered 22 at-bats against Vargas. Rivera is batting .273 with a pair of home runs and four RBIs while Abreu is hitting .227.
This three-game series marks the first time the Dodgers have visited Seattle since 2000.