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Series Preview #20: Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros

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The Astros (37-24, 2nd in AL West) host the Mariners (37-22, 1st in AL West) in a 2 game division showdown for 1st place

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Recency Bias

The (ugh) 1st place Mariners roll into town red hot after sweeping the Rays and haven’t lost a series since May 13th, going 15-5 in that time. The top of the line up has been solid, even with recent injuries and roster subtractions. Cruz has been a beast this week, slashing .407/.433/.704 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs for 8 RBI in 7 games. Segura has also been killing it at the plate lately with Gamel right behind him. Haniger has been a little bit sluggish on offense recently, but did get to play hero with a 13th inning walk off homer against the Rays, and has been one of the Mariners’ best players this year. Dee Gordon is still your standard lead off man, getting on base at a .319 clip but with little power.

The Seattle bullpen is a mix of mostly solid arms and human debris. Altavilla and Pazos have been very good as bridges to Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s hard throwing closer. Diaz has been up and down recently, taking a loss and blown save in consecutive outings and giving up 4 ER in the loss, but would bounce back with two back to back saves. He’s appeared in three straight games, so we’ll see how much time he gets on the mound. Alex Colome is also a new face in their pen, acquired in a trade from Tampa since the last time we saw the M’s. He had a rough start to 2018 but has impressed in Seattle, allowing only a single hit and no runs or walks in 4 games since joining the Mariners.

Seattle will look to continue their run and cement their perch atop the West while forcing the Astros to play catch up.

Meanwhile, Houston comes off a series with Boston that started promising but ended with a thud. After two quick wins the Red Sox would steal one in late innings and then thump the ‘stros on their way out of town. The top of the order was mostly effective during all four games, with Gurriel and Springer providing a lot of the spark. Altuve would reach in all but one game with 4 hits and a walk, but all for singles. Correa smashed a couple of homers to open the series but was mostly quiet in the last two games. Bregman has not been getting on base at his usual pace, but did club a 2 run shot in Saturday's loss. Gattis would also belt one during the series and the new kids made some noise, but the bottom of the order didn’t do much in the last two games.

The bullpen has been in a bit of an inconsistent pattern recently, giving up multiple runs as some of our relievers, who had been on good runs, came back down to earth. Peacock would allow a walk off RBI single in NY after Devo gave up a 2 run wall scraper, McHugh would give up a couple of runs during mop up duty, Giles gave up some garbage runs in the Boston finale, and Will Harris would give up 3 ER off two home runs to Boston, his first two homers allowed this year. They would all also pitch clean innings at other points across the last two series. It wasn’t all glum though as Rondon and Smith would not allow a hit in the 1.2 innings they each pitched. Sipp also had a very strong couple of series, retiring 7 of 8 batters faced in 3 appearances with 3 strikeouts.

The Astros will try to shower off the last couple of games and regain 1st place in the division while using the Mariners as an off ramp to a softer part of the schedule.

Pitching Match Ups

Game 1: James Paxton, LHP (4-1, 3.13 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel, LHP (3-7, 3.65 ERA)

Paxton has been excellent this season except for a couple of appearances against Cleveland and Texas where he was lit up for 6 and 5 ER, respectively. Other than that, all of his starts have been quality or he has surrendered 2 runs or less. He recently had his first no hitter against Toronto and would follow that up with a CG 2 ER game two starts later. Since then he had a 7 IP 1 ER 11 K dominant start against the Twins and a 5 IP outing where he gave up 2 runs to the Rangers.

Dallas would have a disappointing start against the Yankees his last time out, surrendering 4 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks in only 5 innings of work, but still collected 7 strikeouts. It was the second time in his last three games that he failed to get into the 6th. Before that he had managed that or more in 6 straight starts, He’ll try to replicate his last start against the Mariners where he want 8 innings and only gave up 2 runs, but took the tough luck complete game loss.

Dallas has been good this year and controlled this Mariner offense in April, but Paxton has dominated the Astros in the past. I would probably say Paxton has the advantage.

Game 2: Wade LeBlanc, LHP (1-0, 2.60 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers Jr., RHP (7-3, 3.89 ERA)

LeBlanc has been found money for the Mariners as he started the season as in the pen as their long man but was moved to the rotation and has thrived. He’s gone either 5 or 6 innings in all but his first start where he only went 4. He doesn’t strikeout a lot of guys, but has yet to give up more than 2 runs in any of his starts. His worst appearance of the year came in relief against the Astros where he gave up 4 ER in 2 IP.

Lance had a nice bounce back start in his last game against Boston after laying an egg in Cleveland. He would handle the Sox well across 6 IP with just 4 hits and 2 walks, but only struck out 4. McCullers’ 2018 has only been marred by two meltdowns, but other than that he has performed quite well on the season and continues to develop his pitching arsenal. His last time out against the Mariners was a dominant 7 IP 1 ER 11 K gem.

LeBlanc has been a revelation for the Mariners in the rotation but I think that Lance has shown more dominance this season and is the better pitcher in this one.

Fun Fact

The last time the Mariners were at Minute Maid Park was September 17th, 2017 when the Astros won the division on a Verlander gem while completing a three game sweep.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Tuesday, June 5th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 719 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790, La Ranchera 850 AM
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / MLB.TV

Game 2: Wednesday, June 6th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Mariners - 710 ESPN / Astros - KBME 790, La Ranchera 850 AM
Watch: Mariners - ROOTNW / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / MLB.TV

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Astros Sweep 2-0
    (35 votes)
  • 50%
    Series Split 1-1
    (127 votes)
  • 35%
    Mariners Sweep 2-0
    (90 votes)
252 votes total Vote Now