Mariners’ big bats face Astros’ arms

Apr 12, 2019 3:01 AM

No one was expecting the Seattle Mariners to do much this season.

Many pegged them for last place in the AL West without even thinking twice, as this long playoff-starving franchise entered rebuilding mode even after claiming 89 wins a year ago.

Fast forward through the first couple of weeks and change of the campaign and it is the Mariners who are unexpectedly pacing baseball in wins. Not only that, they also have slugged the most homers — 32, in fact, entering Tuesday’s action, the most ever by a team in its first 12 games.

In the process, the M’s have been very beneficial to over bettors, cashing such wagers at a 9-3 clip.

Don’t be surprised to see this trend continue, as Seattle’s starting pitching staff has been overachieving with a 3.72 ERA, ranking them 13th, and it doesn’t seem likely they can sustain that. The rotation put up a 4.34 ERA last season, which placed Mariners starters in the bottom third of all major league clubs.

This tendency for overs figures to at least continue this weekend when the Mariners face the team they’re vying to dethrone in the AL West, the Houston Astros. Despite averaging barely more than three runs per game in the early going, Houston can be trusted to finally get on track offensively.

Let’s look at the pitching matchups.

Wade Miley vs. Wade LeBlanc (Friday): In the series opener, a battle of Wades will commence, as these two southpaws will try to continue encouraging starts. That seems unlikely from LeBlanc, given the opponent. The 34-year-old did have a solid showing a year ago overall, but was still absolutely torched when he toed the rubber against the Astros. In six games (four starts), LeBlanc got bashed to the tune of a 6.75 ERA, 1.68 WHIP and .315 opposing batting average.

Miley has been continuing his nice work from 2018 but this won’t be a favorable matchup for the 10-year vet. He’s still not racking up many strikeouts (50 Ks in 80.2 IP last year), and as a result, one of the league’s most potent lineups should get their licks in opposite this lefty. OVER

Justin Verlander vs. Felix Hernandez (Saturday): Like his rotation mate LeBlanc, Hernandez has not found success vs. the Astros recently, as evident in the 6.00 ERA he’s collectively registered against the Astros over the past three seasons. The King is also coming off a start that saw him exit after the first with flu-like symptoms.

The other former Cy Young winner in this middle affair, Verlander, looks to be up for the task — as he always is. The 36-year-old compiled a superb 12-2 road record last year to go with a 2.14 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. It may not be enough to decide the total, however. OVER

Gerrit Cole vs. Marco Gonzales (Sunday): Gonzales is another one of those Mariners hurlers who has been overachieving into the middle of April. And just like those before him, a rough track record facing Houston point to a troubling day ahead. The former Cardinal was hounded for 11 runs in just 7.1 total innings across his two meetings with the Astros.

Cole is obviously the far bigger constant here, and that applies to his work against Seattle. In his first rodeo with Houston last season, Cole registered a nifty 2.77 ERA when opposing the M’s, his lowest such mark against any of his division opponents. He’s not the only one doing the lifting here, though. OVER

Last week: 1-2

Season: 2-4

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