Houston Astros starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi
Houston Astros starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (17) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

Astros vs. Mariners, Sept. 1

Houston now sits atop the AL West with a pretty strong hold on the division as the A’s have slipped a bit. Seattle is not totally out of the picture in the West, although they are starting to fade quickly as far as the division is concerned but they have a legitimate shot at the wild card. Seattle sits four and a half games behind Boston for the last spot into the playoffs and with the Sox playing a tough series against the Rays, now is the time for the Mariners to make their move. Seattle has slumped a little lately; can they turn it around in time to make a wildcard run? The Astros have been cruising along, can they keep winning long enough to secure the division and another trip to the postseason?

Shooting Stars: Astros
Houston has been playing good ball and has gone 7-3 in their last 10. Odorizzi hit a skid a month and a half ago but has been solid over his last four starts, only allowing over two runs in one outing. Odorizzi has been having some issues with the long ball and has allowed a home run in each of his last three starts, which is concerning with the solid production from the Seattle bats. Odorizzi has pitched well in his two starts against the Mariners only giving up a combined four runs, but he also has given up three home runs. The Astros easily beat the Mariners in Odorizzi’s two starts this season outscoring them 26-5. The Astros are only 9-9 in Odorizzi’s starts this season but have won their last two and are nine games above .500 on the road. The current Mariners lineup is only hitting .207 against Odorizzi in 93 at bats. If the Mariners can’t get to Odorizzi with the long ball, it could be a long afternoon for them.

The Time is Now: Mariners
The Mariners are starting to struggle at the wrong time against the wrong teams. They’re struggling against teams they would face in the playoffs so some solid wins would go a long way in getting them there in the first place as well as some confidence while they’re knowing they can beat this team. Gilbert gets the nod for the Mariners today and after a good stretch of solid outings he has been hit hard lately. Over his last five starts, he has allowed 24 runs and the Mariners have lost all those games. Over these last five starts, Gilbert has also had his share of problems with the long ball as he has allowed six homers. These two teams met up a little over a week ago and Gilbert got crushed by these Astros to the tune of nine runs over four and two-thirds innings. That was the first time the Astros had seen Gilbert and it’s not a stretch to expect close to the same results in the second meeting. 

Astros vs. Mariners: The Pick
The Mariners are slipping, and the Astros can smell blood. The Astros still need to win games to secure their place in the postseason and should continue to tee off on young struggling pitchers like Gilbert. The play here is the Astros money line that is at a modest -125, considering how these two teams have been trending and the head-to-head series being pretty one-sided in favor of the Astros, so it makes it hard to pass on Houston in this one.   

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