Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups (9/26/23)

The Astros and Mariners square off for the second game of a pivotal 3-game series on Tuesday night at 10:05pm ET. George Kirby gets the start for Seattle against the Astros’ Cristian Javier.

The Mariners are the betting favorites at -130 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 7.5 runs. Find out below why the Astros vs. Mariners prediction and best bet recommendation is that the Astros win and cash their +110 moneyline odds.

Astros vs. Mariners Prediction

Starting pitchers: RHP Cristian Javier (9-4, 4.64 ERA) vs. RHP George Kirby (11-10, 3.58 ERA)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like October with matchups like this one. There are certainly playoff implications for this game and this series between the Astros and Mariners.

After losing to Houston last night, the Mariners now trail their division rivals by 1.5 games for the final Wild Card spot, while sitting 3 games back of Toronto for the second Wild Card. Riding a 4-game losing streak, this game is about as must-win as they come for Seattle tonight. With a brutal schedule the rest of the way, they simply cannot afford to fall 2.5 games back.

The Mariners will be putting the ball in the hands of one of their best starting pitchers this season, George Kirby, a 25-year old with elite command who currently leads the majors by a fairly wide margin in K/BB ratio. His 8.9 K/BB is more than a full strikeout better than the next best starting pitcher, thanks largely to his league-leading walk rate of 0.9 BB/9.

Kirby is in the midst of arguably the toughest stretch of his young career. Over his last 6 starts he has a 5.56 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, which could be partly attributable to fatigue. With 178-2/3 innings pitched this season, Kirby has already soared past the 164-2/3 innings he pitched in his rookie season (including Minors and postseason).

Astros starter Cristian Javier is having more than a rough stretch – he’s having a rough season. His current 4.64 ERA is more than a full point higher than his ERA in any of his first three seasons, and more than 2 points higher than his fantastic 2022 campaign (2.54 ERA). He showed some signs of turning things around in his last outing, striking out 11 batters and allowing only 1 run over 5 innings against Baltimore.

Both of these teams have struggled in September, as the Mariners have gone 8-15 while the Astros have gone 9-13. The Astros are letting the AL West title slip away as they trail Texas by 2.5 games, while the Mariners are at risk of letting a once-promising season be ruined if they end up missing the playoffs.

Given their recent performance, it’s hard to trust either team and either starting pitcher in this game. We lean towards the Astros largely because of their track record of clutch performances. This is largely the same team that has made six consecutive trips to the AL Championship Series. Their lineup is fully healthy and they are 2nd in the majors in OPS and wOBA in September. They have also been one of the league’s best road teams this season with a .618 winning percentage.

On top of all that, in a tight game that offers challenges picking a side, the simple solution is to take the team getting the plus odds on the moneyline, which is the Astros at +110.

Astros vs. Mariners Prediction: Astros moneyline (+110)

Astros vs. Mariners Odds

The Mariners are the betting favorites with their best moneyline odds being -125 at BetMGM, while the Astros’ best moneyline odds are +110 at multiple sportsbooks.

The Mariners are laying -1.5 runs on the spread with the best odds being +168 at FanDuel, while the Astros are getting +1.5 runs with the best odds being -180 at DraftKings.

The over/under in this game is set at 7.5 runs with -120 odds on the over and +100 odds on the under.

Astros vs. Mariners Key Matchups

Here are the key matchups that could decide Astros vs. Mariners.

Cristian Javier vs. aggressive hitters
Part of the reason we picked the Astros in our Astros vs. Mariners prediction is that Cristian Javier has started to look like his old self in his last few outings. Not only did he strike out 11 batters against a tough Orioles lineup in his last start, but he has 30 total strikeouts over his 4 September starts (20 innings).

Javier’s 13.5 K/9 over that span is the 4th best in the majors and is reminiscent of his dominant 2022 season, when he was one of the best strikeout pitchers in the league. His 11.6 K/9 rate last year ranked 6th in the majors.

Seattle’s lineup is full of aggressive hitters who are prone to swings-and-misses, as they have the league’s second-highest strikeout rate at 25.7%. Four of their top hitters – Teoscar Hernandez, Eugenio Suarez, Jarred Kelenic and Mike Ford – are all up over 30%.

If Javier is truly back to his old self and can find success against the Mariners’ aggressive lineup, then he should be able to put the Astros in a strong position to win this game.

Bullpen battle
This could be a tight game that comes down to the final outs, and in that scenario the bullpens will play a huge role in the outcome of this game. Both of these teams have excellent relief staffs that rank among the top 7 in bullpen ERA this season, with a slight edge going to Seattle (4th at 3.51).

Seattle also has better advanced metrics with a 3.81 FIP (4th) and a 3.76 xFIP (1st), while Houston is at 4.16 (18th) and 4.21 (13th) in those categories.

While the Mariners have been better overall this season, they have struggled in September with a 4.10 ERA (12th) and 5.43 FIP (28th). Houston has remained solid this month with a 3.18 ERA (5th). Both clubs have some excellent bullpen arms, but the nod goes to Houston based on this recent performance, which is another reason to like our Astros moneyline pick in our Astros vs. Mariners prediction.

Astros vs. Mariners Starting Lineups (Projected)

Astros Starting Lineup
2B Jose Altuve (R)
3B Alex Bregman (R)
DH Yordan Alvarez (L)
RF Kyle Tucker (L)
1B Jose Abreu (R)
LF Chas McCormick (R)
SS Jeremy Pena (R)
CF Mauricia Dubon (R)
C Martin Maldonado (R)

Mariners Starting Lineup
SS J.P. Crawford (L)
CF Julio Rodriguez (R)
C Cal Raleigh (S)
DH Teoscar Hernandez (R)
RF Jarred Kelenic (L)
3B Eugenio Suarez (R)
1B Ty France (R)
LF Dominic Canzone (L)
2B Josh Rojas (L)

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Noah hails from Philadelphia and is a diehard Philly sports fan. He graduated from Penn where he was a sports writer and editor for the student newspaper and also spent a summer covering the Baltimore Orioles for MLB.com. He has been playing fantasy sports since before live stats were a thing, and he has enjoyed learning the nuances of DFS in recent years. As a current resident of Florida, he is hoping the wave of sports betting legalization will eventually reach his home state.

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