MLB Regular Season: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros Series Preview

Astros Finally Putting Wood On The Ball, Mariners Bring Pitching

Don’t look now but the Houston Astros — who started the season 7-19 — have won four of five and are only six MLB games out in the American League West.

After taking two of three from the Guardians this week, who are tied for the best record in the AL, the Astros host none other than the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners for an important weekend series in May.

So it makes sense that the Mariners vs Astros odds have Houston as -115 moneyline favorites for Friday’s series opener and, at -1.5 runs on the run line, the Astro’s are +175. The over/under is a middle-of-the-pack eight runs.

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After easily taking a pair of games from the lowly Colorado Rockies in Mexico City, the Astros put together a nice series win over the Guardians mostly thanks to an offense that has buoyed them all year and a bullpen that has struggled at times.

The ice-cold Alex Bregman had a big home run in Tuesday’s win and some depth pieces — Victor Caratini and Jon Singleton — provided huge sparks too, with Caratini hitting a walk-off jack and Singleton going yard twice. Getting those performances against a good Cleveland team will help the Astros in the MLB power rankings.

Seattle is coming off its own impressive home series win as the Mariners took two of three from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners’ offense didn’t do much but their starting pitching — their rotation has been among the best in baseball — was awesome as Bryce Miller and Luis Castillo threw gems on Monday and Tuesday against a terrifyingly productive lineup. Seattle will need that pitching to continue in Houston as the Astros’ bats are warming up.

Mariners logo Mariners vs Astros Astros logo

Location: Minute Maid Park; Houston, Texas

Astro Bats vs Mariner Arms

This matchup is an intriguing one because it perfectly pits strength against strength with Houston’s top-five offense against Seattle’s top-five pitching staff from the rotation down to the bullpen.

The Astros haven’t fully hit their stride just yet as Bregman is still trying to work out of a season-long slump, José Abreu is in the minors trying to figure out his swing and Chas McCormick is on the MLB injured list.

But, with elite top-of-the-lineup bats in Jose Altuve, Yordan Álvarez and Kyle Tucker as well as a resurgent Jeremy Peña, it’s a tough group to hold down.

It makes sense why the Mariners vs Astros odds peg Houston as a -145 favorite to win the series even with their unsightly record and lengthy list of injured pitchers.

But, if there is any MLB team that can keep the Astros in check, it’s Seattle. The Mariners’ starters and relievers are in the top-five in most pitching categories — from ERA to WHIP to K/9 to H/9 — and Seattle will use George Kirby, Logan Gilbert and Miller this series.

Kirby has developed into one of the best command pitchers in the game (just four walks in 32 1/3 innings) while Gilbert and Miller are young strikeout arms who just don’t give up many hits. No wonder Seattle has been one of the more popular division-winner MLB picks this season.

Houston’s Rotation Is Up-And-Down

The Astros will have Ronel Blanco, Framber Valdez and Hunter Brown on the mound this weekend. Blanco has been a savior for Houston’s beleaguered rotation which has the fourth-worst ERA, second-worst WHIP and second-most BB/9 in baseball.

Blanco is a 30-year-old who had only throw 58 1/3 innings in the Majors before this MLB season but already has a no-hitter under his belt to go with a 1.65 ERA. He’s walking nearly a batter every other innings but has done a great job preventing hits. The Mariners vs Astros odds expect him to do well against Seattle’s bottom-five offense.

Valdez was expected to be Houston’s ace and, when he has been on the mound, the two-time All-Star has pitched like one. However, he missed a few starts with elbow inflammation and returned last week, throwing five two-run innings against the Rockies.

The Astros missed him a lot so it’ll be a welcome sight for fans at Minute Maid Park to see the productive lefty on the mound again. His presence shifts the balance of this series toward Houston.

The live MLB stats for Sunday’s starter, Hunter Brown, are, to put it nicely, not good. He has a 9.78 ERA and is allowing more than 14 hits and five walks per nine innings.

His last start against Cleveland was another rough one as he gave up six runs (and a pair of home runs) in just 5 1/3 innings. Brown has great stuff but has just been way too hittable and way too wild to be effective.

Look For Astros To Take The Series

Houston as a -145 series favorite is a good bet even with how the pitching matchups shake out and with the Astros at home on an upswing. The call for Friday’s opener is a bit tougher with Houston as a -115 moneyline favorite and Seattle as a +105 moneyline underdog.

If you expect the Astros to take advantage of Kirby’s strike-throwing and for Blanco to pitch another gem, going with Houston the runline at +175 is an intriguing value pick.

Either way, consider the under eight runs (-110) with both pitchers looking good as of late.

For MLB betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.

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