King Felix takes the bump tonight at home against the Minnesota, and as expected, the MLB odds board shows his Mariners as the heavy favorites.
There are only really a couple big-time favorites on the board for Friday night. The biggest one of the bunch though is Seattle, who is listed at -190 or so to get the victory. Minnesota is quoted at +180, with +175 also available at certain sportsbooks.
We've got Felix Hernandez and Phil Hughes on the mound for tonight, so what kind of total do we see on the board? It's low of course, with MLB odds makers posting the O/U at just 6.5 runs.
Seattle Mariners (Hernandez)
The Mariners have not been as good as many thought they would be, but we're only 15 games into the season. They've got a lot of time to sort it out.
Off to a 6-9 start, Seattle just lost two of three in Houston, though the club did close things out with a much-needed victory on Wednesday. J.A. Happ was very solid on the mound, while Mike Zunino (solo homer), Brad Miller and Nelson Cruz batted in the three runs for the Mariners. Happ went 7 and 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and two runs with five strikeouts and zero walks.
We now return back to the top of the rotation, where Felix Hernandez is ready to strut his stuff on the bump. He's been as dominant as ever through his first three starts, surrendering a total of five earned runs over 19 innings of work. In that span, he's struck out 23 and walked just five batters, so his stuff is there early on in 2015.
Minnesota Twins (Hughes)
Just like Seattle, Minnesota closed out its latest series with a victory after dropping the first two games. The Twins are also 6-9 on the year, with their highlight so far coming when they took two of three at home against the American League champion Kansas City Royals a couple weeks back.
More recently, in the team's 3-0 win over the Royals (this time on the road), Mike Pelfrey hurled an extremely impressive game, as he gave up just five hits in seven scoreless innings (with four strikeouts and two walks). He completely shut down Kansas City's offense, and it didn't hurt that Minnesota's one through four in the batting order all had multiple hits in the victory.
Phil Hughes will be picking up the start tonight and he's currently sporting a 5.30 ERA for the season. He's allowed eight hits over six innings (and a total of 11 runs) in each of his first three assignments, and the right hander faces another tough task tonight at Safeco Field. Yes, it's a pitcher's park, but the Mariners have a lot of productive hitters who can do damage.
Both teams are sitting at a disappointing 6-9 on the season, but that was to be expected from the Twins. Seattle is the far more talented ballclub, so to see them struggle this much out of the gate is a little surprising.
But, let's not over-react too much. We're still so early on in the season that we're not worried about the Mariners - they've got too much talent not to turn things around, and this home series with the Twins is exactly the kind of situation they need to kickstart themselves back into gear. They're going to be heavily favored in each game (and have Hernandez, Paxton and Iwakuma pitching), so it'd be a surprise if they didn't sweep.
Meanwhile, the Twins haven't been intimidating many with their offensive outputs, and Hughes has been prone to at least one or two letdown innings in all of his starts thus far. King Felix should out-pitch him here, so we're siding with Seattle on the run-line for our MLB picks.
MLB Pick: Seattle Mariners -1.5 (+115)