The Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros are battling for wild card positioning in the American League on Sunday – and things are getting very interesting.
Seattle jumped into the third spot in the AL wild card race during this series, and it is now just 1.5 games back of the No. 2 wild card spot held by Houston. Sunday is a perfect chance for the Mariners to pick up a game on their division rival.
However, they’ll need to get through a talented young pitcher to do so in Houston’s Hunter Brown (9-8, 4.16 ERA). Brown has a 3.93 Fielding Independent Pitching this year, showing that he’s been a little better than his ERA suggests.
The righty worked out of the bullpen in his last appearance, but he’ll look to shut down this Seattle team on Sunday.
He faces another young arm in Seattle’s Emerson Hancock (0-0, 5.40 ERA), who is making just his third big league start.
Let’s dive into the odds and a best bet for Saturday’s afternoon showdown:
Mariners vs. Astros odds, run line and total
Mariners vs. Astros prediction and pick
Seattle has won both of Hancock’s starts this season, even though he allowed five runs in five innings of work to the Kansas City Royals in his last game.
The team is likely going to have a quick leash with him (he’s thrown 87 and 76 pitches in his first two outings), especially since it has the No. 2 bullpen ERA in baseball.
However, as I discussed this week on the Baseball Insiders podcast with Adam Weinrib, Seattle’s bullpen has blown its fair share of leads since the team traded away Paul Sewald.
Does that make the team vulnerable against Houston? I think so.
However, I’m not sold on Brown having a shutdown outing in this game either. Since the start of July, Brown has a 5.70 ERA in seven starts, and now he has to take on one of the hottest offenses in baseball.
In fact, both of these offenses have been red hot, ranking No. 5 and No. 6 in OPS over the last 15 days. Julio Rodriguez has been on tear for Seattle, powering the team to four straight wins.
Hancock struggled against the Royals (who rank seventh in OPS over the last 15 days), so I wouldn’t be shocked if Houston gets to him as well.
It’s also worth noting that Brown’s last three starts have all finished with nine or more combined runs. I’ll take the OVER on Sunday afternoon with these offenses surging..
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Find Peter Dewey's betting record here.