June 6 Odds: Southpaw Starters to Keep Scoring Down in Twins-Mariners

james paxton mariners

Matthew Jordan

Monday, June 5, 2017 6:40 PM GMT

For the past week or so, the Mariners have been playing as well as any team in the American League outside of Houston. They look to continue their winning ways in a series opener Tuesday (10:10 p.m. ET) vs. the visiting Twins.

MLB Season Record: 18-13

Minnesota Twins At Seattle Mariners (-180, 8.5)

Tuesday is the first meeting of the season between the Twins and Mariners as they open a three-game series at Safeco Field with a first pitch of 10:10 p.m. ET.

Seattle has the longest playoff drought in baseball, last reaching the postseason in 2001 when that team won a record 116 regular-season games but then lost to the Yankees in five in the ALCS. That was so long ago, Ichiro Suzuki was a rookie.

I thought the Mariners were dead in the water as recently as May 27 when they lost a second straight game by shutout in Boston to fall to 21-29. Yet here they are at 28-30 and only 2.5 games out of the final AL wild-card spot as of Monday. Impressive considering the club’s projected five-man rotation has started just 29 of the team's 58 games due to injuries.

The Mariners come off a home sweep over the weekend of Tampa Bay, winning those three games by a combined score of 28-7. However, the team got some bad news Friday when it put shortstop Jean Segura on the disabled list with a high ankle sprain. He could miss up to two months, although Segura claims he will return by the end of the month. It’s a big loss as he is the team’s leadoff hitter and is No. 1 in the American League with a .341 average. He’s seventh with an on-base percentage of .391. Taylor Motter takes over as the every-day guy, but he’s hitting just .215 with a .291 on-base percentage.

Seattle’s hottest hitter is first baseman Danny Valencia. He tied a franchise record with hits in nine straight at-bats before that ended Sunday vs. the Rays. Valencia went 9-for-10 in the series, fouling out in his final at-bat. The last player to start a series 9-for-9 was Boston’s Dustin Pedroia against the White Sox in August 2008. Valencia hit only .181 in April but is now up to .283 overall.

Minnesota continues to be a surprise leader of the AL Central, but that’s a fluke because it has a run differential of minus-19. Only Oakland and Kansas City are worse in the Junior Circuit. Ace pitcher Ervin Santana and outfielder Miguel Sano (.303, 14 HRs, 43 RBIs) have been carrying this club. The Twins are +600 on MLB odds to win the division. That’s not happening.

 

Tuesday’s Probable Pitchers

It’s lefty Hector Santiago (4-5, 4.76) for the Twins. He hasn’t won since May 9 at the White Sox and had a solid 3.80 ERA after that outing. Santiago was hit hard last Wednesday vs. Houston in allowing a season-high six runs and eight hits, including three homers, over six innings. After a 2.43 ERA in five April starts, Santiago struggled in May with a 6.89 ERA.

Santiago has faced the Mariners plenty from his Angels days. He has a 3.09 ERA in 55.1 career innings vs. Seattle with a 2.22 ERA in 24 1/3 innings at Safeco Field. Nelson Cruz has had success against Santiago as the Mariners’ DH is 5-for-18 off him with three RBIs. So has Valencia, who is 7-for-19 with two doubles against him.

It’s Canadian lefty James Paxton (4-0, 1.26) for the Mariners, and he has been the team’s best starter. Paxton would be leading the AL in ERA if he had enough innings to qualify. He returned from a DL stint last Wednesday against Colorado and shut out the Rockies on three hits over 4.1 innings. The Mariners kept him on a pitch count of 74. He should be allowed to go deeper here.

Paxton is 1-1 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts career vs. the Twins. Sano is 2-for-3 off him with a triple. Brian Dozier is 1-for-6 with two strikeouts. Joe Mauer is 0-for-1 with two walks.

 

Reasoning For Pick

Paxton has been fabulous in 2017 with five scoreless outings. Santiago, meanwhile, has a good track record at Safeco, which is a pitcher-friendly park. The ‘under’ is 4-1 in Paxton’s past five at home. The Mariners, meanwhile, hit just .233 as a team vs. lefties compared to .270 against right-handers. So 'under' will be the MLB pick. 

Free MLB Pick: ‘Under’ 8.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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