A pair of AL West rivals kick off an early week set up in the Pacific Northwest. The Houston Astros are on the road as they travel to face the Seattle Mariners Monday night in the first of a four game series. Houston played the rubber game of their three game set at home against Texas Sunday: they lost 6-5 in 10 innings Saturday. Seattle had a chance at a sweep of the A’s as they took a 10-8 win in the middle game of the set Saturday. The Astros won the season series last year 14-5, going 7-2 at Safeco Field and 7-3 at Minute Maid Park.
Houston Astros Seek to Regain Top Spot in AL West
Houston was slated to play the rubber game of their set with the Rangers on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The Astros have to put aside the bad taste after letting a five run lead slip away Saturday. Houston entered that game 10-5, 2.5 games behind the Angels in the AL West. The Astros led 5-0 after four innings and 5-2 after seven before giving up three in the eighth, then the winner in the 10th inning. George Springer (run), Alex Bregman (run) and Yuli Gurriel (run, three RBI) each had two hits for Houston in the loss. Charlie Morton took a tough no-decision as he threw six innings, allowing two runs on six hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts, leaving with a 5-2 lead. After Brad Peacock blew the save, Will Harris (0-1) took the loss after allowing a run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout over one inning of work.
Dallas Keuchel is expected to get the ball for his fourth start of the season for the Astros here. He comes in 0-2 with a 4.20 ERA, a 1.80 WHIP, nine walks and 13 strikeouts over 15 innings of action. Keuchel took the loss in his last start, which came Tuesday on the road against the Twins. He threw four innings, allowing three runs on six hits with four walks and six strikeouts in a 4-1 Astros defeat. Keuchel makes his 16th career appearance and 15th start against the Mariners in this contest. He is 8-5 with a 2.70 ERA, a 1.024 WHIP, 24 walks and 87 strikeouts over 96.2 innings of work against them. Keuchel is 3-3 with a 3.16 ERA, a 1.078 WHIP, 11 walks and 38 strikeouts over 42.2 innings in his seven career outings, six starts, at Safeco Field.
Seattle Mariners Look to Continue Recent Surge
Seattle entered Sunday’s finale with a chance for a sweep of the A’s as they outslugged them in the middle game Saturday. The Mariners entered Sunday 8-4, winners of four straight, and they stood three games behind the Angels in the AL West. Seattle took the lead for good in the bottom of the third and held the A’s off late. Dee Gordon (run, RBI) and Kyle Seager (two runs, RBI) each had three hits for Seattle. Jean Segura (his first), Seager (his third), Mitch Haniger (his fourth) and Dan Vogelbach (his second) all went deep in the win. Marco Gonzales recorded a no-decision after allowing four runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 3.1 innings. Chasen Bradford (1-0) earned the win with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief while Edwin Diaz worked the ninth for his sixth save.
James Paxton takes the hill for his fourth start of the season for the Mariners in this contest. He is 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA, a 1.404 WHIP, six walks and 21 strikeouts over 15.2 innings of work this season. Paxton recorded a no-decision in his last outing, which was a start against the Royals on the road Wednesday. He threw six innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in a game the Mariners ended up winning 4-2. Paxton makes his ninth career start against the Astros in this contest. He comes in 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.125 WHIP, 11 walks and 43 strikeouts over 45.1 innings of work in those outings. Paxton is 16-12 with a 3.01 ERA, a 1.195 WHIP, 64 walks and 213 strikeouts over 215 innings in 37 career starts at Safeco Field.
- Astros are 7-1 in their last 8 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- Astros are 13-3 in their last 16 vs. American League West
- Astros are 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a left-handed starter
- Mariners are 1-4 in their last 5 Monday games
- Mariners are 2-8 in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- Mariners are 1-7 in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
Seattle has home field in this series and they had four straight wins going into Sunday but playing here didn’t bother the Astros last season. The one plus for the Mariners is that they dodge Justin Verlander in this series as he was slated to throw Sunday night. Of course, the rest of the Houston rotation isn’t full of slouches and Keuchel is a prime example. Houston’s lineup is powerful and bound to get going sooner rather than later. Look for the Astros to pick up the win in this one.
Pick: Houston Astros -125
Houston is off to a decent but not earth shattering start to the season. The Astros are dealing with the protracted offseason that the Cubs had after winning the title in 2016 and it’s taken a toll on some of their guys early on. Springer is hitting just .213, Evan Gattis is at .200, Alex Bregman .241 and Marwin Gonzalez just .191 entering Sunday. Throw in that Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. are 1-3 in a combined six starts and there are some reasons to be a little concerned. Seattle had won four straight but beating Kansas City and Oakland isn’t going to move the needle as much as taking down a team like the Astros would. Can the Mariners reclaim their home field after being dominated here a year ago by Houston?
The under is 4-0 in the Astros’ last 4 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, 6-0 in their last 6 during game 1 of a series, 4-1 in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600 and 7-2 in their last nine overall. Seattle has seen the under go 7-1 in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record and 9-3 in their last 12 against teams with a winning percentage above .600 on the year. The teams have gone under the total in each of their last five meetings in Seattle and in seven of the last eight meetings overall: look for this to be a well pitched game that falls short of the total.