Astros vs Mariners Picks and Predictions: Streaking M's Face Tough Home Test

Both teams enter this series riding three-game winning streaks. With a chance to eat into the Astros' division lead, the home underdog Mariners send Darren McCaughan to the mound for a tough first MLB start against fellow rookie Luis Garcia.

Posted: Jul 26, 2021 3:15 PM ET Updated: Jul 26, 2021 3:15 PM ET Est Time: 4 min
Carlos Correa Michael Brantley Houston Astros MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The late contest on the MLB betting slate Monday features two AL West teams riding three-game winning streaks, with the Seattle Mariners hosting the first-place Houston Astros at T-Mobile Park. 

Seattle just handled another tough divisional opponent, taking three of four from the Oakland Athletics, while Houston swept the Texas Rangers to increase its division lead over the A's to 5.5 games. Despite the Mariners' hot streak, the visiting 'Stros are a heavy -175 MLB betting favorite.

Here are our free picks and predictions for Astros vs. Mariners on July 26.

Astros vs Mariners game info

Location: T-Mobile Park, Seattle, WA
Date: Monday, July 26, 2021
Time: 10:10 p.m. ET
TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, ROOT NW

Astros vs Mariners odds

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Starting pitchers

Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA): The 24-year-old righty continues to impress in his first full season in the bigs, allowing one run over his last two starts while striking out 15 and walking two. On a strong Astros starting staff, the rookie has arguably been Houston's best pitcher as he leads the group in WAR and FIP. He worked five innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts when he faced the M's at the end of April. 

Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA): McCaughan will make his second MLB appearance, and first start, when he gets the ball Monday. The 25-year-old soaked up five frames — allowing a run, no hits, and issuing three walks — on July 21 after Keynan Middleton got blasted for five runs in the first inning of a bullpen game. McCaughan made 10 starts at Triple-A before his promotion, pitching to a 3.97 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and pedestrian 7.02 K/9 rate. He was not on any Mariners top prospect lists entering the season.

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Astros: Aledmys Diaz SS (Probable), Alex Bregman 3B (Out), Pedro Baez RP (Out).
Mariners: Jake Fraley OF (Out), Kyle Lewis OF (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Astros are 22-8 in the last 30 meetings in Seattle. Find more MLB betting trends for Astros vs. Mariners.

Runline pick

The Mariners are riding high after gaining two games on the A's to move to within 1.5-games back of Oakland, for the second wild-card spot, entering tonight's big series with the powerhouse Astros.

They stuck to the same script that has kept them in the playoff hunt: Seattle won three consecutive one-run games after dropping the series opener. It improved its MLB-best record to 23-8 in one-run games, which has kept it alive and moved the club to eight games over .500 — despite sporting a -52 run differential.

But this is a tough matchup to walk into, particularly with a massive starting pitching discrepancy Monday night.

Garcia has been sharp and generates a lot of swings and misses, which will help him carve up an M's team that strikes out more frequently than any club in the majors. He has allowed more than three runs in just two of his 18 starts and should do more of the same tonight, as Seattle has the second-lowest OPS in the majors and is at the very bottom in batting average.

Toss in the fact that this game will be played in Seattle's run-suppressing park and it all adds up to Garcia turning in a dominant performance.

On the other hand, the rookie McCaughan will have to go through the AL's best team — and the highest-scoring club in MLB. His inability to produce whiffs (he generated one swinging strike over his 61 pitches in his debut) will be especially problematic against an Astros club that has the lowest K rate in baseball.

Back Houston to kick off this three-game set with a convincing victory.

PREDICTION: Houston -1.5 (-115)

Over/Under pick

Houston's big, powerful lineup has sputtered recently, batting a collective .210/.298/.349 over the last month (which is worse than Seattle in all three areas) but this is the type of game that screams breakout. 

There's no reason to believe McCaughan will go long — or be effective while he's out there. While he was solid enough in the minors to earn himself a promotion and has flashed great control at every level, below-average strikeout rates are concerning when looking for big-league success. And the Astros are not a team that gets fooled, as in addition to their MLB-low K rate, they make more contact than any team in the majors and rank Top 10 in batting average on balls in play. 

Houston has six regulars with an OPS of at least .815 versus right-handers, including Michael Brantley's team-leading mark of .959.

The 'Stros are going to hit McCaughan and force the Mariners to turn to their bullpen early and often. And Seattle had to use a number of arms to get through its last two games with Oakland, including some key arms multiple times, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see some bullpen guys unavailable. There's a reason why the Astros are heavily favored for this matchup.

We think we'll only need a couple of runs out of Seattle to get past the 8.5 total with the way the Astros — the second-best Over bet in baseball this season — are poised to swing the bats tonight.

PREDICTION: Over 8.5 (-115)

Astros vs Mariners betting card

  • Houston -1.5 (-115)
  • Over 8.5 (-115)

Picks made on 7/26/2021 at 1:41 p.m. ET

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