The Houston Astros head home after a successful three-game series in Cleveland. They were winners in two of three games 4-1 in their previous five games. The Astros also had a series win against the Cardinals on the road. This will be their first game at home since making waves. Houston were the big winners at the trade deadline, or at least for this season, with the acquisition of Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
I think Zac Gallen and J.B. Bukauskas could develop into productive pitchers, so it takes a while to clearly define winners and losers. In any event, the Astros immediately jump up to World Series favorites, and when you have a chance at winning another championship, they had to take that chance on Greinke.
I’ve said it before, though, Greinke has to calm his nerves in the postseason for this to work out. He has been prone to having anxiety issues in the past and he faltered as a Dodger in the postseason. It’s not an automatic World Series like some pundits seem to be proclaiming out there. He won’t have the kind of pressure Yankee fans would have put on him, but he will be counted on in big spots soon.
Houston advanced to 70-49 on the season, as they become the second team in the majors to notch 70 wins in 2019. The Dodgers were already sitting at 71 before going into last night. We’ll have to wait for Greinke’s debut, as Wade Miley will get the call Friday night. Miley is a back of the rotation guy and he’s putting up No. 1 numbers. That’s how scary the ‘Stros are right now. The Mariners will counter with first-year major leaguer, Yusei Kikuchi. Head below for our free Mariners vs. Astros pick.
Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Pick:
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The Mariners have been hoping for more from Yusei Kikuchi this season. After pitching for years in Japan, the 28-year-old finally decided to give Major League Baseball a shot. In his rookie campaign, Kikuchi has found that it isn’t as easy as pitching in Japan. At 28, he’s likely set in his ways and it’s going to be more difficult than a young pitcher to change. Kikuchi enters with an ERA of 5.21 and 1.46 WHIP on the season. He’s been consistently poor and hasn’t won a game since June 23rd.
The Mariners did win his most recent outing, but that was against a horrible Detroit team at home. It’s going to be much more difficult to overcome the Astros on the road in this spot. Kikuchi isn’t going into this matchup with much confidence. Despite a solid performance against the Tigers, he owns an ERA of 6.89 with a 1.47 WHIP and .338 OBA in his previous three outings. In his first start against the Astros in his career, he allowed 5 runs and 6 hits in 5 innings of work. I could see something similar happening Friday night at Minute Maid. Houston have done well against left-handed pitching this season with a .277 average.
Wade Miley goes into Friday with a lot of confidence on his side. He has posted an ERA of 1.47 and 0.98 WHIP in his previous three showings. Miley hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in a start since June 22nd against the Yankees in the Bronx. At home in Houston, Miley hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs thus far. He holds a tremendous ERA of 1.92 and 0.96 WHIP in 56.1 innings at home. Miley was fantastic in his latest outing against the Mariners, as he held them to just 3 hits and 1-run on June 28th. The Astros should have this one by 2 or more runs in the series opener.