Mariners vs Astros Preview & Winning Free Pick – [9/26/2016]

Seattle (82-73) at Houston (82-74)
When: Monday, September 26th 2016
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Time: 8:10 ET | TV: ROOT

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The Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros will begin a three-game series that could decide who is eliminated from playoff contention, if not both. The Mariners begin the last week of the regular season 2.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second AL Wild Card while the Astros are a half a game behind Seattle. A sweep by either team will surely eliminate the other and keep the winner in it heading into the weekend. Seattle’s victory over Minnesota yesterday was their 12th in the last 17 games, while Houston salvaged the finale of a four-game series against Anaheim. Nelson Cruz’s two homeruns powered the Mariners, but he left the game with a wrist injury that doesn’t appear to be serious. Kyle Seager, who went 0-for-4 on Sunday, is 1-for-22 with seven strikeouts in his last six games. The Mariners will try to solve Colin McHugh tonight as the right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four outings this season versus Seattle.

Pitchers: Mariners – Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 4.04 ERA) | Astros – Collin McHugh (12-10, 4.61)

Hisashi Iwakuma allowed a season-high six runs – five earned – and eight hits in 3.1 innings of a 10-2 loss to Toronto on Tuesday and is now 2-5 with a 4.81 ERA in his last seven outings. Jose Altuve is hitting .429 in 35 at-bats against Iwakuma, who is 5-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 13 starts against Houston. He allowed two hits while matching a season high with eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 1-0 victory over the Astros on July 16th.

McHugh allowed two runs and six hits in 5.2 innings of a 6-5 victory in Oakland on Wednesday and as we mentioned above, he has owned the Mariners this season. He allowed two hits in seven innings of a 6-0 victory at Seattle on September 16th. Seager is 4-for-29 with 11 strikeouts against McHugh, who is 9-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 12 career starts versus the Mariners.

It makes no sense to take Seattle against McHugh right now. Four starts is enough sample-size to realize that he just has their number. Iwakuma is struggling right now as the 35-year old could be wearing down. Houston will hit him tonight and take the opener.

Pick: Astros -125

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