MLB Picks: Mariners To Stand Their Ground Against Astros In Series Opener

Swinging Johnson

Monday, April 25, 2016 1:53 PM GMT

The Astros embark on a six-game West Coast road trip tonight. Let's analyze the match-up and come up with the correct MLB pick for this series opener.

2016 MLB Record: (8-7, +0.87units)

Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners

Houston Astros (6-13, -10.0 units)
Houston fans believed that this season would be one step closer towards the Promised Land after an exciting 2015 campaign that saw the Astros win their wildcard playoff but lose the ALDS round to the eventual World Series champs, the Kansas City Royals. This is a franchise that has been to only one World Series in their franchise history, bowing in 2005 to the White Sox in four games. But for those who decided to put their money where their hearts are and back the ‘Stros in their MLB picks, it has been not only a disappointing ride but a costly one as well. Houston sits in the basement of the AL West with a 6-13 mark and has already burned through 10 units for those unwitting investors.

The Astros are coming off a 12 inning, 7-5 defeat at home after rallying in the ninth to knot the game at five. Houston has now lost five of their last six and must pack up for a three-game set with the Mariners followed by three in Oakland after this one is through. Doug Fister gets the nod in this one for Houston toting a 1-2 record and a 5.94 ERA. Fister got tagged with a hard luck loss in his last outing when he pitched six solid inning allowing two runs on five hits in a 2-1 loss in Texas.

 

Seattle Mariners (9-9, -1.7 units)
The Mariners are in third place, out by just half a game of the Rangers and Athletics, in the tightly contested AL West. The club has reeled off four wins in their last five outings including a 9-4 road victory over the Angels last night. Seattle is 16th in runs scored, plating 75 on the season but in the bottom third of team batting average (29th), on base percentage (23rd) and slugging percentage (21st). Second baseman Robinson Cano leads the team in homeruns with six but is hitting just .219 on the year.

Taijuan Walker will get the ball for the Mariners and the 23-year-old, now in his third season, has not lived up to his enormous hype since getting drafted 43rd overall in 2010. That however may be changing as Walker’s problems have historically been attributed to his lack of control which led to too many walks and too many problem innings. Last season it took Walker 10 starts before making it through an appearance without issuing a walk. The young righty already has two of those outings in just three appearances. In fact, Walker has issued a free pass to only two batters this season and boasts a 1-0 record with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.

 

Betting Analysis
These AL West rivals will meet for the first time this season with Houston owning an 11-8 record in all games played at Seattle over the past three seasons. This is a tale of tonight’s two starting pitchers reflecting their team’s trajectories as well as their own professional paths. We have a 32-year-old Doug Fister who has lived and breathed as a solid, middle of the order guy who chews up innings and can be counted on to be reliable and sometimes even spectacular. But that Doug Fister appears to be fading as last season told a different story, recording his highest ERA (4.19) and WHIP (1.40) of his career. This season seems to be a continuation of that downward spiral as Fister brings a 1-2 record and a 5.94 ERA into this one.

Conversely, Taijuan Walker has harnessed his control and the results have been stellar. This may be a turning point for the young hurler and, if it is what it appears to be, then hitters in both leagues will be confounded as to how to handle his arsenal of pitches. The Mariners are winning while the Astros are losing. Though Houston has a more potent lineup it is far from threatening. After reviewing the MLB odds in this one, we are backing the home favorite.

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Free MLB Pick: Seattle Mariners -145
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline