Astros vs Mariners Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks Tuesday (September 26)
Adam Hunger/Getty Images. Pictured: Cristian Javier
Astros vs. Mariners Odds
After dropping Monday's series opener 5-1, the Mariners have now lost four straight games and seen their playoff chances dwindle to 28.8% (via FanGraphs).
George Kirby will look to build upon his 3.10 ERA at T-Mobile Park in this critical spot, and oddsmakers are respecting him relative to Christian Javier (4.64 ERA, 151 1/3 innings) as the Mariners are -130 favorites Tuesday.
The Astros' powerhouse offense came through again in Monday's opener, as they managed to get to AL Cy Young contender Luis Castillo for five earned runs to put the game out of reach. Those runs weren't fluke either, as the Astros hit to an xBA of .266, including three balls with exit velos greater than 106 mph.
Playing with all of their top stars in the lineup has certainly correlated with recent success. Over the last 30 days, the Astros have hit to a wRC+ of 142. That mark paces baseball by a significant margin, and they have displayed an elite process at the plate, striking out only only 16% of the time with a BB/K ratio of 0.55.
After a significant downswing in form throughout July and August, Christian Javier could be stabilizing at the right time. He has pitched to an ERA of 4.50 in his last 20 innings with a WHIP of only 1.10. In those four games, he owns a tremendous xFIP of 3.48. He has also managed 13.50 K/9 in that small sample, including 11 in five innings last time out versus a strong Baltimore offense.
While it is in a smaller sample of four starts, those numbers make a strong case that Javier is finding the dominant form we saw last year, and that he could be a pitcher to buy heading into the postseason.
Justin Verlander's dominant eight innings in the series opener affords the Astros the luxury of a well-rested bullpen in this matchup. This is noteworthy, as the Astros' bullpen has been shakier than we have come to expect over the last few weeks. Even still, they own an ERA of 3.64 over the last 30 days, with an xFIP of 4.22.
Kirby has stumbled a little down the stretch and enters this matchup with an ERA of 5.64 across 22 1/3 innings in September. He holds a WHIP of 1.22 in those outings. He has pitched to an xFIP of 4.66 in those four starts, compared to a season-long mark of 3.55.
Kirby has pitched to an xERA of 3.94 this season, and owns an xwOBA of .297. He holds a Stuff+ of 102, and Location+ of 109.
He has thrown fastballs in two-strike counts 66% of the time this season. He has also thrown fastballs up 60% of the time since last season. While we don't know that those numbers continue tonight, we can expect the Astros will be well-versed in Kirby's tendencies entering this spot.
Seattle has hit to a wRC+ of 99 over the last 30 days, which ranks 15th in baseball. The Mariners have struck out 25.3% of the time in that sample, which is the fifth-highest mark league-wide.
Astros vs. Mariners
Betting Pick & Prediction
The Mariners are a likeable team, and fading them in all these crucial games down the stretch is not necessarily fun. Many relatively neutral fans, such as myself, might have preferred to see them sneak into the final AL wild-card spot over higher-salaried powerhouses.
For the same key reason as in the Texas series and in last night's opener, the Mariners are overvalued here priced as -134 favorites here. Kirby deserves to be viewed as a superior pitcher to Javier, but not enough so to negate the gap between these two sides offensively.
If you want to put a little weight on the fact that the Astros' roster clearly can come through in this type of playoff atmosphere, that is reasonable as well.
At +110, I'm happy to look for another reasonable Javier start and back the Astros' offense to come through again. Anything better than +105 is worthy of a bet on Houston taking this one.
Another reasonable way to fade Seattle in this spot could be betting the Mariners to miss the playoffs at -190 (Bet365). Houston should be a slight favorite tomorrow with Framber Valdez taking on Bryce Miller and can still get us in a good spot if the Mariners win tonight.
If the Astros can win one of these two remaining contests in Seattle, -190 becomes an excellent price.
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