AL West Showdown: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners

Ryan K

If the Houston Astros are looking to repeat this year as WorldSerieschampions, their divisional rivals are not making life easy. As both the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners are having great seasons, it is getting pretty tight in the AL West. After a loss to the Mariners Monday night, the defending champion HoustonAstros now share the divisional lead with the Oakland Athletics while the Mariners sit just 3.5 games back. Hoping to not fall out of first place in the division, the Astros (75-50) will look to take the second game of the series when they travel to Safeco Field to take on the Mariners (72-54) Tuesday night. The Astros will be going with a bullpen night starting righty Brad Peacock (2-4, 3.19 ERA) while the Mariners counter with Mike Leake (8-7, 3.90 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 pm ET.

The moneyline for Sunday night’s game is set at the Houston Astros -115 andthe Seattle Mariners -105. The over/under for runs scored is set at 8.

Astros Looking To Get Healthy For Stretch Run

The Houston Astros lineup will get a huge boost on Tuesday as defending ALMVP, Jose Altuve, is set to rejoin the Astros. Altuve, who has been on the disabled list with knee soreness, will look to reinvigorate an offense that has been inconsistent lately. Prior to his injury, Altuve was hitting .329/.392/.464 with a .857 OPS. He has 9 home runs, 46 runs batted in, 64 runs and 14 stolen bases on the season. The Astros are hoping that George Springer, who was a last second scratch in Monday’s game, will be able to get back into the starting lineup Monday as well. If so, this will be the first time that Springer, Altuve and Correa will have been in the same lineup for over a month.

On the pitching side, the HoustonAstros are the last team in the major leagues to have only used five starters all season long. With LanceMcCullersJr. still on the disabled list, that will change Tuesday night. Going with a bullpen game, Brad Peacock will get the start. Out of the bullpen this season, Peacock is 2-4 with a 3.19 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and opponents are hitting .205 against him. He has 18 strikeouts versus 15 walks in 53.2 innings. The Astros are hoping that he will be able to give them several innings; otherwise, it will be up to the bullpen to eat the innings.

Mariners Hope To Inch Back Into The Playoff Pitcher

After going 8-11 to start the month of August, the Mariners are hoping they can fight back into the playoff race. To do so they will be sending Mike Leake out to the mound on Tuesday. On the season, Leake is 8-7 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and opponents are hitting .272 against him. In 154.2 innings, Leake has struck out 96, walked 31 and has allowed 18 home runs. Leake has actually been really solid in his last three starts. In 20.2 innings over the three starts, Leake has allowed 5 earned runs and struck out 15. He is hoping to keep his solid play going against the Astros.

Offensively, MitchHaniger has been swinging a hot bat over the last month. In the last 27 games, he is hitting .282/.359/.408 with a .767 OPS. In that time he has a home run, 12 runs batted in, 11 walks and has scored 15 runs. NelsonCruz also has continued to rake this year. On the season, Cruz is hitting .263/.350/.528 with a .877 OPS. He has 30 home runs, 78 runs batted in and has scored 52 runs.

Astros Take The Win With Bullpen

The Astros have a pretty good bullpen. Even more important in a game where the bullpen is asked to go the distance, they have multiple relievers that can go multiple innings. Colin McHugh, Brad Peacock, and Cionel Perez all have experience as starters. While it is not ideal to not go with a legitimate starter, the Astros are one of the few teams that can effectively carry it out. Throw in the healthiest lineup they have had in a month and I think they might finally get to Mike Leake. For me, I am putting my money on the defending champs in this one. Take the Astros at -115.

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