The Houston Astros will host the Seattle Mariners for the first of four games on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. The series opener features a terrific pitching matchup, with the ace of both staffs taking the mound. Runs should be at a premium on Thursday night.
The Astros still hold a comfortable lead in the American League West, but the Athletics and Mariners are still hanging around. The defending World Series champions lead the division by 5.5 games entering Thursday. The Mariners have fallen 8 game back, but are just 2.5 games behind the A’s for the second Wild Card spot. The Houston Astros are -155 over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
Verlander Pitching Well For Houston
All Justin Verlander has done since joining the Astros last season is win, and this year is no exception. Verlander is 11-6 with a 2.19 earned run average through 24 starts this season. The 35 year old still has a devastating fastball that has led to his 204 strikeouts this season. The right hander has not made a start against the Mariners this season, but has allowed just two career homers to members of the current Seattle roster.
The Astros are a little banged up at the moment, but it hasn’t slowed them down in the win column. Houston has won 6 of their last 7 games despite being without Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer. Alex Bregman has stepped up in the absence of these stars and leads the Astros with 22 homers and 71 runs batted in. The Astros face a tough pitcher in the series opener on Thursday night.
Paxton Tries to Change Narrative For Mariners
The Seattle Mariners pitching staff is in a free fall, and it will be up to their ace to change that on Thursday night. The Mariners gave up 11 runs to last place Texas in each of the previous two games. James Paxton is having a terrific year for the Mariners and will bring his 9-5 record and 3.51 ERA into Houston. The lefty is 3-0 against the Astros this season, giving up just 2 runs in 20 ⅔ innings pitched against them.
A pair of veterans have led the Mariners offense this season. Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz have their Seattle team right in the middle of a playoff race, a place no one saw coming in the preseason. Segura leads the team with his .305 batting average and Cruz has belted 30 homers with 72 RBI’s to lead the team. The Mariners must find a way to score against Verlander on Thursday night.
Houston Outscores Mariners In Game 1
This series could prove to be make or break time for the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are catching the Astros at the right time, with many key players on the disabled list. Seattle has lost 17 of their previous 26 games, and need Paxton to end their skid on Thursday night.
Houston just continues to win despite missing ⅓ of their everyday lineup. With their ace taking the mound on Thursday night, all signs point to a low scoring game. Look for the Astros to find away to score enough runs to come away with the victory. Take the Houston Astros in this game on Thursday.