#919 Seattle Marinersvs.#920 Houston Astros
Written by Chris Kubala
Seattle Mariners (45-47 SU, 42-50 RL, 43-45-4 O/U) vs. Houston Astros (62-30 SU, 55-37 RL, 48-37-7 O/U)
MLB: Monday, July 17, 2017, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 8:10 pm ET
Lines: Houston -205, Seattle +190; Over/Under: 9
A pair of AL West foes rekindle their rivalry when they meet in the Lone Star State. The Seattle Mariners play the first of three games against the division leading Houston Astros Monday night. Seattle went for the sweep of the White Sox on the road Sunday after winning 4-3 Saturday. Houston played the rubber game of a three game series with the Twins, winning 5-3 Sunday. The Astros took two of three in the last series between the teams, which came in Seattle June 23-25.
Seattle took the first two of their series with the White Sox to give them four wins in their last five games. The Mariners entered Sunday three games behind the Yankees for the final wild card spot in the AL. Seattle overcame three errors in the game to get the win with Jean Segura the lone player with two hits. Kyle Seager (his 11th) and Nelson Cruz (his 18th) each homered in the victory for the Mariners. Felix Hernandez (5-3) picked up the win despite going only five innings: he allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits with no walks, five strikeouts, two hit batters and a wild pitch. Edwin Diaz worked around a walk and a hit in the ninth, striking out two, for his 15th save.
Ariel Miranda is on the hill for his 19th start of the season for the Mariners in this contest. He is 7-4 with a 4.15 ERA, a 1.154 WHIP, 37 walks and 80 strikeouts over 104 innings of work this year. Miranda recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came against the Royals at home back on July 5. He threw five innings, allowing six runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in a 9-6 Seattle defeat. Miranda is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP, five walks and 12 strikeouts over 19.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fifth career start against the Astros here: he is 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over 25 innings of action. Miranda took a no-decision in his lone start at Minute Maid Park in his career, which came April 6. He allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in a 4-2 Seattle victory.
Houston is in a comfortable position, entering Sunday with a 15.5 game edge in the AL West. The Astros have the luxury of resting guys, getting healthy and easing off the gas a little bit. Houston bounced back from a loss Saturday to take the series with a win Sunday. Norichika Aoki (two RBI) and Jose Altuve (run) each had two hits for the Astros. Mike Fiers (6-4) pitched solidly to pick up the win: he allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts over seven innings. Ken Giles gave up a run in the ninth but recorded his 20th save of the season.
Lance McCullers Jr. makes his 17th start of the season for the Astros in this contest. He comes in 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA, a 1.139 WHIP, 27 walks and 106 strikeouts over 91.1 innings of work. McCullers Jr. took the loss in his last start, which came at the Blue Jays back on July 6. He allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings. Houston went on to lose the game, 7-4. McCullers Jr. is 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP, four walks and 17 strikeouts over 14.2 innings in his last three starts. He is 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA and a 1.138 WHIP over 38.2 innings in his seven career starts against the Mariners. McCullers Jr. is 13-4 with a 2.18 ERA and a 1.143 WHIP over 27 starts totaling 165.1 innings at Minute Maid Park in his career.
Seattle is fighting to stay in the wild card race while Houston has the AL West pretty much wrapped up barring a complete and utter meltdown. The Mariners are getting healthy and actually have most of their personnel back in place: the question of whether the team can play to potential remains to be seen. In this one, Miranda will battle but Houston’s lineup is too powerful to keep in check. Look for the Astros to come up with the win in this contest.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.