Pick Mariners over Orioles in Game 1

Willie Bee

Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:25 AM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 24, 2014 11:25 AM UTC

East meets West this weekend in Seattle where the Mariners host the Baltimore Orioles in a 4-game set, and SBR has you covered with game analysis plus free MLB picks.

One team hasn't tasted the postseason for 12 years while the other has just one playoff appearance in the last 16 seasons. Each would like to change that, and would be in line for October baseball if the regular season ended today.

But there's a long way to go for both the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners who have seven games against one another over the next two weekends, the first four of those at Safeco Field beginning with Thursday's series opener (10:10 PM ET). An all-Asian mound clash gets matters underway as Wei-Yin Chen hurls for the Orioles opposite Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma. A quick check of SBR's live MLB odds reveals the Mariners favored in the -130 to -135 range along with a 7 run total that is taxed 20-30 cents to the low side.

The first meeting between the two in 2014 finds an even-steven series over the previous 15 campaigns, each team owning 67 wins with the home teams having a big edge. Of the 69 clashes at Safeco Field since it opened in 1999, the Mariners have won 42 after taking two of three a year ago when they also posted a 2-1 series victory at Camden Yards.

All three contests in Seattle last season went past totals that were in the 7-7.5 range the clubs combining for 28 runs in the set. That leaves 'over' bettors 6-3 in the last nine played at Safeco.

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O's Wrap Long Trip With Stop In Jet City
Baltimore (55-45, +13.7 units, 45-53-2 O/U/P) finishes a 10-game road trip out west with this series. The Orioles reach Seattle 3-3 on the journey after taking two of three from the Angels in Anaheim, losing Wednesday's finale by a 3-2 count when the Halos rallied late. They'll head home after this set, and quickly face the Angels and Mariners again in a 6-game homestand.

Chen extended his win streak to three in his first start after the all-star break last Saturday, getting help from his offense and bullpen after giving up three runs in five frames at Oakland. The southpaw had previously beaten the Nationals in Baltimore on July 10 with a similar linescore (5.1 IP, 3 ER).

The Mariners have given Chen fits the past two seasons, especially in Seattle where the Orioles are 1-2 in his three career outings with his ERA at 4.86 in those 16.2 innings. The M's lead the American League with 22 victories vs. lefties this season, against 13 losses.


Mariners With Tenuous Hold On AL's 2nd Wild Card Slot
Hoping to end a 12-year playoff drought, Seattle (53-48, +4.6 units, 40-57-4 O/U/P) presently occupies the second American League wild card position, 7.5 games behind the Angels and only a half-game ahead of the Yankees and Blue Jays. The Mariners just dropped two of three to the Mets to begin this homestand, losing two games to par in July with an 8-10 mark for the month.

July has been a great month so far for Iwakuma, the 3rd-year major leaguer pitching to a 1.57 ERA this month and Seattle winning three of his four assignments. Perhaps the most impressive stat on his ledger this month has been a zero in the walk column, all while striking out 28 of the 109 batters to get in the box against Iwakuma.

He missed the O's in all three series between the teams a year ago, Iwakuma's lone experience vs. the Birds coming in his very first MLB start in June of his rookie 2012 season. A 3-run homer by Chris Davis was the only mistake he made in five innings, and the Mariners rallied to eventually post a 6-3 triumph.

Once today's rain moves out of the Seattle area, it should leave a nice weekend behind for the series. The weatherman believes all of the wet stuff will be gone by tonight's first pitch a little after seven o'clock local time, so there's a chance the roof will be open four all four games.

My free baseball picks have taken a beating this week with nary a winner in six tries, so feel free to fade tonight's play which will be on the home team.

MLB Pick: Mariners -130

Season: 90-90 (+0.05)

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