The Houston Astros will look to get back on track Tuesday night when they visit the Seattle Mariners. Seattle won the series opener on Monday night 7-4, meaning the Astros have now lost five in a row to the Mariners after getting swept at home in a four-game series earlier this month.
That four-game sweep at the hands of the Mariners was the start of Houston’s current tailspin. The Astros have won just two of their last 10 games, which as allowed the Oakland A’s to tie them atop the AL West while also bringing them into a tie with Oakland for the second wild-card spot.
Meanwhile, the Mariners are just 3.5 games behind both teams in both the division and wild-card race. Of course, outside of winning their last five games against Houston, the Mariners are just 4-10 in the month of August. But as long as they can keep beating the Astros, the Mariners will stay in the playoff hunt.
Just Filling In
With Lance McCullers Jr. on the DL, the Astros will send Brad Peacock to the mound on Tuesday. This will be the first time anyone outside of the five pitchers who began the season in Houston’s rotation will start a game this year. Peacock has spent the season in the bullpen, going 2-4 with a 3.19 ERA. Of course, he has 67 big league starts to his name, including 21 last year, going 10-2 with a 3.22 ERA, so he’s a more than capable starter.
In his career, Peacock has struggled against some of Seattle’s best hitters. Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, and Ryon Healy are all hitting better than .300 against Peacock. Also, now that Robinson Cano is back from his suspension, Seattle’s lineup is at full strength. Oddly enough, most of the lineup outside of Cano is struggling right now. But Seattle’s lineup could start to heat up after Monday’s 7-run outburst.
The Fourth Try
Seattle starter Mike Leake will make his fourth start against the Astros this season on Tuesday but is still seeking his first win against Houston. He’s lasted six innings in all three of his previous starts for a total of 18 innings but has given up 10 runs over that span. He’ll need to do a little better than that if he expects to get the win on Tuesday. However, Leake is coming off his best outing of the season, tossing eight scoreless innings against the A’s last week.
Working to Leake’s benefit is that the Astros have been without Jose Altuve and Brian McCann, two hitters who’ve had a fair amount of success against him in the past. Altuve is questionable to return for this game. Alex Bregman and Martin Gonzalez have both hit Leake well in small samples, but the veteran righty has handled most of Houston’s hitters during his career. The Astros, as a team, are in the midst of a slump. However, the team continues to hit home runs despite Altuve missing and Carlos Correa just 2 for 21 over the last week.
Mariners and Momentum
Seattle has all kinds of positive momentum coming into this game, as they have somehow managed to win five straight over the Astros. Meanwhile, Houston has been ice cold against everyone lately. With Peacock not stretched out to throw more than four or five innings, the Astros will have to go deep into their bullpen, swinging this game in Seattle’s favor. Bet on the Mariners -105 to beat the Astros on Tuesday night.