It’s been another incredible season for the Astros as they have bounced back nicely from their quick struggle. This series is a tremendous opportunity for them to try and sink the Mariners playoff hopes a bit, and draw a bit of space between them.
The Mariners on the other hand have to pick it up. While being 15 games over .500 is impressive, they’re behind both the A’s and Yankees in the wild card race, and have a ways to go.
Led by the power of Nelson Cruz (30 home runs), this team has been showing the power this year. But they have been struggling of late, and despite being so far over .500, they have actually been outscored by 29 runs. Jean Segura has continued to hit the ball well, while Ryon Healy, Mitch Haniger, and Kyle Seager have all gone deep frequently. The loss of Robinson Cano early in the season hasn’t taken the toll on this team many people expected, and they are still on contention. They’ve got a chance, but they need some wins, especially in this series. The A’s have overtaken them.
Mike Leake will take the mound for his 24th start of the season. He has gone 8-7, posting a 4.16 ERA in 140 2/3 innings of work. He has struck out 86 batters while walking 29. He hasn’t been anything special, but he’s been ok for them. He allowed three runs on nine hits in six and two thirds innings of work in his last start, a no-decision, against the Blue Jays. He is winless since June 23rd.
Where to begin with a team that has no weak link? The Astros, for the second year in a row, have been absolutely unbelievable. From Alex Bregman to Jose Altuve to George Springer, this team just has so many guys that can come to the plate and clobber the ball. On the other side, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton have been among the best pitchers in all of baseball. The addition of Cole has helped put them over the top, while Morton has had a career year. A repeat as World Series champion will not be easy with the Red Sox and Yankees lurking, but it’s sure viable for these guys to do it again.
Gerrit Cole will take the mound for his 24th start of the season. He has gone 10-4, posting a 2.64 ERA this year in 146 1/3 innings of work. He has struck out 202 batters while walking 49. In his last start, Cole allowed three runs on six hits over five innings against the Dodgers.
Mariners earn a much-needed victory
For the first time in over six weeks, Mike Leake will have a W next to his name in the box score. The Mariners will start the series with a win.
Three hits from Dee Gordon to help lead the way, as Nelson Cruz also goes deep, launching his 31st HR of the season.
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