Justus Sheffield (1-2, 5.27 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA)
The Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros meet for the third and final time in this series. The Astros are seeking a sweep after beating the Mariners by a score of 11-1 and 2-1. It was a complete team effort on Friday night, while the pitching staff had a gem in their back pocket yesterday. Cristian Javier was efficient with just 1 hit allowed and no runs.
The Mariners managed to get just 2 more hits the rest of the game for an abysmal offensive showing. Credit to the Mariners’ Nick Margevicius for holding in there strong at Minute Maid. He gave up 2 earned runs to the ‘Stros in 6 innings. Margevicius gave them a chance to win, though his offense didn’t offer any assistance.
It was the seventh loss of the season for the Mariners. They fell back to 7-15 and in predictable fashion are removing themselves from the postseason hunt. Nobody was considering them as a playoff contender before the season began anyway. This is to be expected for a Seattle team that is strapped for talent. They went for it with their Robinson Cano signing years back, but didn’t get anymore, not even a postseason berth.
Instead of continuing to rebuild during that era, the Mariners attempted to bring in expensive talent and now they’re back to where they started. It was a big gamble that didn’t pay off. The biggest sin was that Felix Hernandez never got to experience what team success felt like. Plenty of individual success, sure, but the Mariners weren’t a winning ballclub during his lengthy tenure.
The Mariners are searching for the next great pitcher to come through Seattle. They acquired Justus Sheffield in a trade which saw James Paxton go to the Bronx, with Sheffield included in that deal. The Yankees didn’t see much in Sheffield, and he’s still trying to find his bearings with the Mariners. Sheffield and Lance McCullers Jr. of the Astros are expected to start on Sunday. Head below for our free Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros pick for August 16, 2020.
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At one point, there was a lot of optimism in the Yankees’ organization surrounding Justus Sheffield. That didn’t materialize, though, and Sheffield was shipped out to Seattle. They apparently didn’t see what they wanted out of Sheffield. From what we’ve seen from Sheffield as a Mariner, you have to think that the Yankees were on to something.
Sheffield enters Sunday afternoon in Houston with an ERA of 5.27 and 1.32 WHIP through three games. He got his feet wet with eight appearances last season and it was more of the same. Sheffield posted an ERA of 5.50 and 1.72 WHIP in 36 innings. His early season work in 2020 hasn’t been too promising.
That said, Sheffield has made only ten starts in his career, so writing him off too early might be premature. However, Sheffield isn’t in great form right now, and struggled mightily on the road against the Angels. The Angels ripped Sheffield for 4 hits and 4 earned runs through 3 innings for a 12.00 ERA and 2.67 WHIP. The 24-year-old has not faced the Astros in his career. This will be the first at Minute Maid Park on Sunday.
Lance McCullers was able to get back on track following a brutal start to the season. McCullers rolled the San Francisco Giants in his most recent performance. He gave up just 1 hit and no runs across 7 innings. McCullers still has some work to do to bring his ERA down from 6.10, but it’s likely that he succeeds in that respect.
The Mariners are hitting .204 against McCullers in 59 at-bats. I think the Mariners just want to go home and likely won’t be concerned with the ‘Stros on Sunday. I’m backing McCullers to stay hot after breaking out his funk and leading the Astros to at least a 2-run win.