Mariners to Finally Break into Win Column at Houston Astros

Willie Bee

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 2:09 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2017 2:09 PM UTC

Favored on the MLB odds to win their third straight to open the season, the Houston Astros send veteran Charlie Morton to the mound Wednesday against Robinson Cano and Seattle.

Season: 0-2 (-2.12)

Pitching has dominated the first two games between Seattle and Houston, the Mariners getting good efforts on the mound and Astros hurlers doing even better to grab wins in each contest. With the big bats both lineups possess, one has to wonder how long the arms win out in the series. The third of a 4-game series that concludes Thursday, tonight's tussle gets underway with a Charlie Morton first pitch at 8:10 PM (ET), Seattle countering with lefty James Paxton. BetOnline sees it as a close matchup, listing Houston -120 with an 8 run total.

Dallas Keuchel got the pitching started for the Astros with seven shutout frames Monday in a 3-0 win as -150 chalk on the MLB odds. Lance McCullers and the bullpen were almost as good last night in a 2-1 win, both contests carrying 8½ run totals.


Morton Facing M's For 1st Time

Injuries and spotty performances have kept Paxton from breaking out as the Mariners have expected each of the past few seasons. A bad spring in 2016 sent him back to the minors for two months, and the southpaw had more inconsistent efforts in 20 starts after being called up. The 28-year-old Canadian saw the Astros three times a year ago, losing twice in Seattle and winning his lone career appearance in Houston (5 IP, 3 ER).

The well-traveled and oft-injured Morton enjoyed a fantastic spring for the Astros to earn a spot in their least for now. Someone has to fall out of the mix when Collin McHugh returns from his early DL stint, so Morton will need to stay on manager AJ Hinch's good side in the early going. Strictly an employee of NL teams up to now, Morton is facing the Mariners for the first time in his 9-year MLB career.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

The third member of chief Jeff Nelson's crew to work the dish in this series is Doug Eddings. The veteran of 19 previous MLB campaigns has leaned to the 'over' the past two seasons at 30-21-4 O/U/P, though his strong home team trends from earlier in his career have slowed down (28-27 Home-Visitors in 2015-16). This is his first plate assignment in Houston since August 2015, the previous two each going 'over' and in favor of the visiting clubs.

The lid has been off Minute Maid Park the first two games of the set, and that should be the case again this evening with clear skies, low humidity and a temp around 72º for first pitch. Hinch has used Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles each of the first two games and may not want to use either a 3rd-straight night. I'm counting on Seattle's sticks to break out and taking the underdogs with my free baseball pick.


Free MLB Pick: Mariners +110Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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