Seattle Mariners (47-47) vs. Houston Astros (62-31)
MLB: Tuesday, July 18th, 8:10 PM ET @ Minute Maid Park
Line: Seattle Mariners +173/Houston Astros -183 Total: 9.5
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The Houston Astros and Mariners will play game 2 of a 3 game set on Tuesday in Houston after a 10 inning thriller on Monday night. After 5 ties and 6 lead changes, Seattle won their fifth straight. Both teams scored in the 1st, and Houston added a second run in the 3rd, but Seattle put up 3 runs in the top of the fourth to regain the lead. A 4 run bottom of the sixth powered by Carlos Beltran’s 2 run home run put Houston back in front before Nelson Cruz tied it with a solo shot in the top of the next frame. Mike Zunino hit a solo shot of his own in the 8th to put the Mariners back on top before George Springer tied it up again with a sacrifice fly. After a scoreless 9th, back to back homers from Kyle Seager and Danny Valencia gave the Mariners the final lead of the game. Edwin Diaz locked down his 17th save for Seattle with a perfect 10th. McCullers lasted just 4.2 innings for Houston while Miranda went 5.2 for Seattle. Neither starter got a decision in the game.
On the mound for the Astros Tuesday is Brad Peacock, a right hand pitcher, who has continued his outstanding season since his upgrade from the bullpen. 7-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 84 Ks overall, he is 5-1 in 9 starts. As a starter, opponents have batted just .214 against him, culminating in his 3.18 ERA in GS. His last start came on July 9th, when he tossed 6 innings of scoreless ball against the Blue Jays. Perhaps his most impressive stat is his .1 HR/9: he has allowed just a single round-tripper in 61.2 IP this year. Kyle Seager has faced Peacock the most batting .350 (7 hits) with 1 HR and 6 RBIs in a career 20 ABs. Mike Zunino has also seen success against the righty, with 2 HRs and 5 RBIs in just 9 at bats (3 for 9 overall). Robinso Cano is 3 for 9 and Nelson Cruz is 2 for 3 against Peacock, with 1 RBI each. Other key Mariners have had limited exposure to Peacock: Jarrod Dyson is 0 for 2 against him while Ben Gamel has never faced him. Offensively for Houston, George Springer and Carlos Beltran each had 2 RBIs on Monday night and Jake Marisnick had 2 hits including a home run. Jose Altuve has been on fire lately, batting .488 in July with 11 RBIs prior to Monday night. He is 11 for 39 (.282) with 3 RBIs against the Mariners on the year, excluding Monday’s game.
The starter for Seattle is Sam Gaviglio (3-4, 4.31 ERA), recalled from Triple-A to make his 11th start of the season (12th appearance) and his second against the Astros. Back on June 24th, he threw 6 solid innings of 2 run ball against Houston, allowing 6 hits and taking the loss. His last time out was disastrous, allowing 2 HRs and 7 runs overall in just 4 2/3 innings against the Athletics. This is not too surprising as limiting the home run ball has been the rookie’s greatest weakness (13 HR in 56.1 IP or 2.1 HR/9). No one in the Astros lineup has faced the 27 year old more than 3 times, with Norichika Aoki, Evan Gattis, and Marwin Gonzalez having never seen him. Josh Reddick is 1 for 3 with a home run against him, accounting for the only 2 RBIs in that June 24th game. Mike Zunino led the way for Seattle on Monday with 2 hits and 3 RBIs including a home run. Seager and Valencia had 2 RBIs each on the night while Nelson Cruz had one. Jean Segura has been dominant at the plate of late, batting an impressive 21 for 51 (.412) in July with 7 RBIs, excluding Monday. In the 63 games this season prior to Monday, he is batting .348 while in 36 ABs against the Astros, he is 9 for 36 (.250) with 3 RBIs. Averaging 4.80 runs per game with a .263 team BA, Seattle’s offense is potent, especially with a few key pieces having returned from injury.
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Though Seattle stole a win from Houston on Monday, this Astros team is too good to stay buried for long (unlike Carlos Beltran’s glove). Starter Brad Peacock has impressed all year both in relief and starting, while Gaviglio, though solid overall, has bounced up and down between the majors and Triple-A. He will have the challenge of facing one of the best lineups in baseball (5.92 runs per game, best in the majors) in his first start after being recalled. There is no doubt the Mariners have built up some serious momentum after sweeping the White Sox and taking a roller coaster win in the opening game of the series in Houston, but I expect the Astros to rebound and take game 2.