Seattle Mariners (47-48) vs. Houston Astros (63-31)

MLB: Wednesday, July 19th, 2:10 PM ET @ Minute Maid Park

Line: Seattle Mariners +106/Houston Astros -116 Total: 8.5 

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The Astros and Mariners will wrap up a 3 game series in Houston with a Wednesday matinee, set to begin at 2:10 PM ET. Houston will have a scheduled off day on Thursday, while Seattle returns home to face the Yankees. Brad Peacock got his 8th win of the year on Tuesday, giving up just one run and 3 hits in 7 innings as the Astros beat the Mariners 6-2. After getting 1 run in the 1st and 2nd innings and 2 in the 4th, Houston scored their 5th and 6th runs in the 6th and 7th innings. Seattle got one in the 5th and another in the 8th, but could not muster enough offense to catch the Astros.

On the mound for Houston in the final game of the series is Charlie Morton. As with most Houston starters, his record is impressive: 7-3. He is 2-0, 4.09 ERA since returning from the DL, with a 4.06 ERA overall in 12 starts. His season has slowed in part due to injury in his last 6 starts, allowing a 4.66 ERA and 6 homeruns. He has faced Seattle twice this year, and is 0-1 while giving up 5 runs in 11 innings(.45 R/IP). Jean Segura has faced Morton the most of the Seattle offense, and is hitting .185 with a homerun in 27 ABs. Nelson Cruz has 2 RBIs in 9 ABs, and Jarrod Dyson has 1 RBI in 5. Ben Gamel has never faced him. Evan Gattis led the way offensively for the Astros on Tuesday, homering twice off Sam Gaviglio. Jose Altuve went 3 for 4 with an RBI, while Springer, Gurriel, and Aoki also knocked in runs. The Astros offense took a huge blow before game action Tuesday when All Star shortstop Carlos Correa was knocked out for 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb. He left Monday’s game in the fourth, and the injury was diagnosed on Tuesday. The rest of the team will look to pick up the slack for their injured teammate in order to maintain their Major League leading 5.92 R/G and .289 BA as a team.

James Paxton will get the call for the Mariners. Despite a 7.20 ERA in June, Paxton has put together a solid season going 8-3 with a 3.19 ERA and 100 Ks in 15 games. He has been especially solid in July with a 3-0 record and a 2.33 ERA. He will be looking for his fourth straight win on Wednesday, coming off a win against the White Sox in his last outing. George Springer is 3 for 18 against Paxton, with 2 HRs. No one else in the Houston lineup has homered off Paxton. Jake Marisnick is batting .364 in 11 ABs against him with 2 RBIs, and Evan Gattis .267 in 15. The Mariners were limited to just 6 hits overall on Tuesday, with Jean Segura, Nelson Cruz, and Danny Valencia hitless in 4 ABs each. That being said, Nelson Cruz has continued his stellar season lately. Before game action Tuesday, his 74 RBIs was the best in the majors. Cruz is 10 for 43 (.233) against Houston this season with 3 RBIs, excluding Tuesday.

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Seattle failed to win their 6th straight on Tuesday, but are in a good position going into the rubber game of this 3 game series. The Mariners are 4-1 in Paxton’s last 5 starts, and 5-1 overall on the road over their last 6 games. Paxton has been especially strong in July, and will look to continue his winning ways on Wednesday against a Houston starter who has seen his ERA slowly climb over his past few starts. Morton has also struggled against Seattle this year: he is winless in 2 starts against them. While Houston’s offense is still threatening, the lack of Carlos Correa in the middle of the order does have the potential to make an impact. Additionally, Houston is just 1-4 in their last 5 home games in which they faced a lefty starter. You know Seattle will be looking to lock down a series win and reach the .500 mark once again in the midst of a tight Wild Card race. In this one, I’m picking the Mariners to come out on top.

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