The Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners took the field Monday night in Seattle with their staff aces on the bump. Justin Verlander the call for the Astros, while Luis Castillo was the man of the moment for the Mariners. The stakes of the game were huge, and everyone knew that going in. The Astros and Mariners had both gotten swept over the weekend, leaving Houston with a half-game lead over Seattle entering the final week of the regular season. The Mariners had a miserable weekend in Texas, getting tossed around by the Rangers in a series which dramatically reshaped the American League West. However, because the Astros were shockingly swept at home by the lowly Kansas City Royals, Seattle stayed in the thick of the wild card race, setting up this momentous series with the defending champions.
Houston drew first blood in this massive three-game series.
Yordan Alvarez homered off Castillo, continuing his reputation as a Mariner killer. Kyle Tucker hit a bomb as well, and Mauricio Dubon and Jose Altuve came up with run-scoring hits. Verlander was not throwing extremely hard — his fastball was topping out at 95 miles per hour instead of 97 — but he used the curveball and slider to left-handed hitters to get the Mariners off balance. He pitched eight shutout innings and led the Astros to a 5-1 win which gave them a 1.5-game lead over Seattle in the race for the third and final wild card spot. This puts all the pressure on Seattle to win this game and stay close to Houston. An Astro win would basically force Seattle to win each of its subsequent five games in order to have a realistic chance of making the playoffs.
Here are the Astros-Mariners MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Astros-Mariners Odds
Houston Astros: +1.5 (-196)
Seattle Mariners: -1.5 (+162)
Over: 7.5 (-122)
Under: 7.5 (+100)
How To Watch Astros vs. Mariners
Time: 10:05 p.m. ET/7:05 p.m. PT
*Watch Astros-Mariners LIVE on fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread
The Astros simply know how to beat the Mariners when it really counts. They were shredded by Seattle earlier in the season in Houston, and they have had a very underwhelming season overall, but they beat the Mariners in the playoffs last year, and they beat Seattle on Monday night in this really big series. The Astros know how to turn it on when it matters. Verlander was struggling but elevated his game in a crunch-time situation. Yordan Alvarez and the other Astro stars were flat against the Royals over the weekend, but they came ready to play on Monday in Seattle. Which team would you trust here? It has to be Houston.
Why The Mariners Could Cover The Spread
The Mariners are the team which has to win this game against Houston. The Astros would love to win this game, but Seattle desperately needs to win this game. If the Mariners lose this one, they're fully on the ropes and would have a very narrow path to the playoffs. Urgency is a reason to pick Seattle.
The other big reason to pick Seattle is that Cristian Javier is starting for Houston. He has had a below-average season. Seattle can expect to score several runs in this game and use its pitching to prevail.
Final Astros-Mariners Prediction & Pick
The Mariners have to win here, and they have a good pitching matchup, but they shouldn't be trusted. Ultimately, you should stay away from this game.
Final Astros-Mariners Prediction & Pick: Mariners -1.5