Houston Astros vs Seattle Mariners: MLB Expert Prediction, 7–30–2018

Free MLB Pick & Prediction by Don Hagen of www.foxandhoundsports.com

Houston Astros (67–40) vs Seattle Mariners (62–43)

The Houston Astros have cooled off since the All-Star break going (3–5) since the mid-summer classic. Houston now travels to Seattle to take on the Mariners who are 4.0 games behind the Astros in the AL West. Seattle was unable to take advantage of Houston’s misfortune, playing .500 ball (4–4) since the break. Tonight, the two AL West rivals will take the field in Seattle and both teams will look to make up some ground in their division.

Houston enters this three-game series vs the Mariners after getting swept by the last-place Texas Rangers and the Astros have now lost four straight games. Tonight, the Astros hand the ball to one of their aces, Gerrit Cole (10–2, 2.54 ERA. Cole has racked up 186 strikeouts on the season, 10 shy of matching his total from 2017. Cole is coming off a no-decision at Colorado on Tuesday despite allowing two runs and striking out nine over 6.1 innings. Cole did not allow an earned run at Seattle back on April 18th and scattered five hits over seven innings to earn a win.

The Astros will be without Jose Altuve who hit the DL for the first time in his career with a knee injury. Houston now has three of their stars on the DL as Altuve joins Brian McCann and Carlos Correa. Despite the injuries, the World Series Champions have the best road record in the majors a 35–16 record AWAY. Houston ranks 8th with a team .257 batting average this season and 1st in pitching with a 3.06 ERA. The Astros have the top rotation in baseball and their bullpen ranks 4th in baseball with a 3.23 ERA.

Seattle had a chance to make up some ground in the division this past weekend but they lost two of three to the Angels on the road. The Mariners will be happy to return to Safeco Field where they are 34–19 at home this season. The Mariners will send LH James Paxton (8–4, 3.70 ERA) to the mound on Monday night. Paxton is set to return from the 10-day disabled list and make his first start since July 12 after recovering from inflammation in his lower back. Paxton won his first two starts against Houston this season, allowing a total of two runs in 13 2/3 innings while striking out 13.

This is a pivotal series for both teams and will either distance the Astros from their AL West rivals or tighten the race. Houston is 9–2 in Coles last 11 road starts and 39–18 in their last 57 vs. American League West. The Mariners are 5–1 in Paxton’s last 6 home starts vs. a team with a winning record but 0–7 in their last 7 games following a win. Houston is 8–1 in the last 9 meetings in Seattle and with Gerrit Cole on the mound, he is exactly what the Astros need to stop the bleeding. It’s a guess how Paxton will pitch tonight coming off the DL and it could be a great opportunity for the Astros to distance themselves from the Mariners. I like the Astros -120 in Game 1 of this three-game series.

Astros vs Mariners Pick: Houston Astros -120