The Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros square off on Saturday with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. ET. The game takes place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas and will only be available on local TV or through an MLB.tv subscription. The Mariners will start Chris Flexen (7-8, 3.75 ERA) and the Astros will counter with Framber Valdez (9-4, 2.74 ERA).
Seattle (54-47) has their sights on making the postseason for the first time in 20 years and their activity both on and off the field has that goal looking like a reality. Despite staring at an 0-2 deficit in their current series with the Astros, the Mariners are just 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the top wild-card spot in the American League. Seattle has a top-10 team ERA of 3.65 and just bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds ahead of the trade deadline. No one is clairvoyant, but it might be time to stop asking “if” the Mariners will end their postseason drought and instead predict who they will face in the postseason.
Houston (66-35) continues to build on their lead atop the AL West and they now sit 12 games ahead of the second-place Mariners. The Astros also hold a 2-0 lead over the Mariners in their current series, with their latest victory courtesy of an 11-1 rout over their AL West rival. Justin Verlander pitched just one-run ball heading into the eighth as the All-Star secured his MLB-best 14th win of the season. Yordan Alvarez slugged his 30th home run of the season, which puts him in third place in the league behind Aaron Judge and Kyle Schwarber.
Mariners vs. Astros
Pitchers: Chris Flexen vs. Framber Valdez
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
Mariners local broadcast: ROOT SPORTS Northwest
Astros local broadcast: AT&T SportsNet Southwest
Live stream: MLB.tv (subscription)
Odds, picks & predictions
Run Line: Astros -1.5 (+105)
Run total: 8
Moneyline odds: Mariners +165, Astros -195
Moneyline pick: Mariners +165
Seattle is 4-0 in their last four road games against a left-handed starter and as a team, they have a slightly better batting average of .240 versus .233 against righties. The Mariners also fair just a bit better against lefties with a .719 OPS compared to .699 OPS against right-handed pitchers. The oddsmakers have an open invitation to take the underdogs in this one and I say roll with the Mariners to get their first victory of the series.
Player prop pick: Yordan Alvarez over 1.5 total bases (-120)
Alvarez went the distance in Friday’s rout over the Mariners and he’s riding a four-game hitting streak heading into Saturday. He’s homered twice over that span along with a double in his back pocket. I’m confident that the Astros’ leader in home runs will have another successful day at the plate in game 3 of this series.
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