Astros vs Mariners Preview and Winning Free Pick – [9/16/2016]

Houston (75-70) at Seattle (78-68)
When: Friday, September 16th 2016
Where: Safeco Field, Seattle, WA
Time: 10:10 ET | TV: ROOT Houston, Seattle

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The red-hot Seattle Mariners return home after a successful road trip to host the Houston Astros on Friday night. Seattle swept both Oakland and the LA Angels in three games each and now have won eight games overall to move to within two games of the final AL Wild Card spot. Seattle has not allowed more than three runs during its winning streak and sends ace Felix Hernandez to the mound in the series opener. Houston, meanwhile, has lost seven of their last eight to fall 4.5 games back of the Wild Card and could be without AL batting leader Jose Altuve (.341), who is dealing with an oblique injury. Rookie Alex Bregman could also miss tonight’s game with a hamstring injury. Astros manage A.J. Hinch said he is not optimistic either will play. Mariners 3B Kyle Seager has homered four times in his last nine games and is one shy of his first 30-homer season. Astros RF George Springer is tied with Hall of Famer Craig Biggio for the most leadoff homers in a single season in club history with eight.

Pitchers: Astros – Collin McHugh (10-10, 4.86 ERA) | Mariners – Felix Hernandez (11-5, 3.58)

Colin McHugh has been pitching extremely well lately and has dominated the Mariners this year. McHugh is 3-0 in his last five starts and held the Cubs to one run on two hits over five innings in his last outing. He is a perfect 3-0 against Seattle this season with a tiny 1.50 ERA. Nelson Cruz is 6-for-15 with two home runs and Robinson Cano is 10-for-30 with a pair of HRs versus McHugh.

Felix Hernandez has been a little inconsistent this season, but is 7-1 over his last 10 starts despite getting rocked in two of his last three outings. Hernandez was hit for 12 runs by Texas in back-to-back starts before shutting down Oakland last Saturday for six innings. Hernandez gets some relief if Altuve doesn’t play (9-for-19), but Colby Rasmus is 7-for-10 versus him.

This is going to be an intense Playoff-type series and those usually result in low-scoring games. We know the Mariners haven’t hit McHugh all year, and Felix should have no trouble with a depleted Astros lineup. I’ll take the under in this one.

Pick: Under 8 -115

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