The Houston Astros will send a new acquisition to the mound Saturday as they go for their fifth straight victory over the Seattle Mariners. No, it won’t be Zack Greinke, but rather Aaron Sanchez, who came to Houston in a deadline-day trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Astros won the opener of this three-game series on Friday night, easily getting past the Mariners 10-2 thanks to six home runs.
Friday’s win kept Houston’s 8.5-game lead over second-place Oakland in the American League West intact. The Astros have the best record in the American League and are just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top overall mark in baseball. Seattle, meanwhile, is on the other end of the spectrum. The Mariners are 24.5 games behind Houston in the AL West, and that’s even with winning seven of their last nine games.
The moneyline for this contest has the Seattle Mariners +180 and the Houston Astros -200. The over/under for this game is 10.5.
In the doldrums of another last-place season for the Mariners, the pitching of Marco Gonzales has been a beacon of hope for the future. The 27-year-old Gonzales comes into this game with a 12-8 record and a 4.21 ERA, having won his last two decisions. In fact, Gonzales has won seven of his last nine decisions, pitching at least five innings in each one. One of the losses in that span was to the Astros when he gave up three runs on six hits and three walks in five innings of work, but he’s hoping for a better showing in this one.
The Mariners’ offense has been starting to put it together over the last week or so, averaging 6.2 runs over its last seven games before being held to just two runs Friday night. Outfielder Domingo Santana has been the team’s best hitter, pacing the team in batting average (.270), hits (111), and RBI (67). He and team home run leader Daniel Vogelbach (26) are a solid 1-2 power punch in the middle of the Mariners’ order.
Looking For Better
Sanchez is ready for some better luck with his new team. The 27-year-old right-hander comes into Saturday’s contest with a 3-14 mark, having dropped his last 13 decisions. He also has a 6.07 ERA and has walked 59 batters in 112 2/3 innings. He has pitched a little better in his last two outings, holding Cleveland to just one run over five innings two starts ago, then striking out 10 Tampa Bay Rays batters in 5 2/3 innings in his last start.
One thing Sanchez will have with his new team is much more run support. The six home runs hit by the Astros Friday night have them in second place in the American League in home runs with 185 on the season. Newly-acquired catcher Martin Maldonado fit right in with his new teammates, hitting a home run in just his second game after being acquired from the Cubs this week. George Springer may be the hottest hitter in the Houston lineup currently, as he is batting .375 with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, four RBI and five walks over the last seven days.
Astros Continue To Roll
Houston is really starting to get its confidence, especially after its acquisitions at the trade deadline. The offense is starting to click, and they’re winning games no matter who is on the mound. That should continue in this one. Although Gonzales gives Seattle the edge on the mound, he’s facing a much better lineup in the Astros. I’m taking Houston -200 to get the win.