On a day full of MLB action, there are relatively few strong plays to choose from. As such we will focus on building bankroll as opposed to prioritizing value over the strength of the play. Today’s game of the day features two AL West teams. However, they have had two very different fortunes after the first 15 games of the season. The home team started out 13-2, the road team started out 10-5. However, one team now leads the division, and one team is in dead last. If that were not enough to generate a perceptible edge, one team is also sending a far superior pitcher to the mound. Let’s dig deep and analyze whether form and trends support the division leader as the smart play.
Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners
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The AL West-leading Houston Astros are set to do battle with their basement dwelling counterparts, the Seattle Mariners. The Astros have been lights out this season and currently sit with the second-best winning percentage, and the second most wins in the majors. They are scoring an elite 5.23 runs per game. And thanks to a pitching staff that relinquishes the second-fewest runs per game at 3.32, the Astros have a terrific +107 run differential. The Astros have won five straight games, and 24 of their last 30. The Astros have been almost as impressive on the road as they have been at home, and hold a 20-12 road record. Their 20 wins rank second in the majors behind only the Minnesota Twins.
The Seattle Mariners have completely crumbled after a hot start to their season. After opening the season 13-2, the Mariners found a way to lose 37 of their next 49 contests. Their elite 4.94 runs scored per contest keeps them in games. However, their 5.27 runs against per game is the second-worst mark in all of baseball. Operating on a negative run differential likely means you are going to lose more games than you win. The Mariners actually have a better record and winning percentage on the road this season. With home-field advantage out of the window when the Mariners are at SAFECO, it is no wonder they have managed to lose 10 of their last 12 home games. The Mariners are 12-21 at home. They are quickly tumbling down our power rankings. The Astros hold the edge in team form.
The Houston Astros will be sending the impressive Brad Peacock to the mound. The Mariners will be countering with the struggling Mike Leake. Peacock holds a surprising 5-2 record through 10 starts and 12 appearances. He has allowed three runs or less in all but three of his starts. Perhaps even more impressively, he has limited opponents to one run or less in six of his starts. Peacock has been much better at home this season but still holds a 3-1 record through four road starts. He was torched by the Twins for seven runs in 3.2 innings, which has led to an inflated 4.21 ERA and 1.17 WHIP on the road. The Astros have emerged victorious in his last five starts.
Mike Leake, as he has for much of his career, has struggled for consistency. He has a 4-6 record through 12 starts and has given up five runs or more in two of his last three outings. Leake holds an ugly 4.71 ERA and 1.32 WHIP on the season. He has, however, shown some flashes this season. He has given up two runs or less in six of his starts which includes the Yankees and the Red Sox. Leake has been much more controlled at home where he holds a 3-2 record through five starts. His ERA and WHIP drop to 3.52 and 1.27 respectively at SAFECO Field. The Astros hold the edge in both pitching and team form.
Edge: Houston Astros
Since we have two teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of win-loss record, we will avoid all but the most intriguing team trends and focus on those of the pitching variety. The Houston Astros have won their last eight road games against right-handed starters. They have won 11 of their last 14 games against a starter with a WHIP higher than 1.30. Finally, they have won 36 of their last 53 games against the AL West. The Mariners have lost 23 of their last 32 against right-handed starting pitchers. They have lost 21 of their last 26 against starters with a WHIP higher than 1.15, and have dropped 13 of their last 16 against the AL West. Finally, they have lost their last four home games against righties. The Astros hold the edge in team trends.
The Astros have been rolling in the vast majority of Brad Peacock’s recent starts. They have won his last four starts against teams with losing records and five straight against the AL West. They have won four of his last five road starts. The Astros have won six of his last eight road starts against teams with a losing record. However, they have managed to drop six of his last eight Wednesday starts. They have lost his last four starts against teams with a winning record. The Mariners have lost seven of Mike Leake’s last nine starts. They hold the same record over his last nine starts on grass. However, they have managed to win six of his last eight starts. The Astros hold the edge in both pitching and team trends.
Edge: Houston Astros
The line in this contest has already started to jump. The line opened at +135 for Seattle and has already moved to +145, and currently sits at +140 at PointsBet. The -165 the Astros currently sit at presents solid value for a battle between one of the best and one of the worst teams in baseball. The Astros have won the first two games of this series and look all but certain to make it three straight in today’s night game. The Astros have won five straight against the Mariners this season. They are the better team and also have both pitching form and trends behind them. The odds for this contest should be closer to -185, making this both the top value and the play of the day.
Pick: Houston Astros (-165)