Mariners vs Astros Picks and Predictions: Kikuchi's Second-Half Struggles Continue In Houston

The Astros have been the cream of the AL West all season but they haven't been able to put away the pesky Mariners, who are just 4.5 games behind. Houston looks to grow its lead tonight, and with better pitching AND offense... we like them to win.

Sep 6, 2021 • 10:14 ET • 4 min read
Carlos Correa Houston Astros MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The MLB betting board has 12 games on Labor Day, including an AL West clash between the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros.

This could be a crucial three-game series at Minute Maid Park in Houston, with the Astros nursing a slim 4.5-game lead on the M's in the division standings. The Astros have owned this divisional rivalry in recent years and oddsmakers are expecting them to prevail again today, with MLB betting odds installing the 'Stros as heavy home favorites at -206.

Here are our best free Mariners vs. Astros picks and predictions for Monday, September 6, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Mariners vs Astros game info

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Date: Monday, September 6, 2021
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: ATT SportsNet-SW, ROOTNW

Mariners vs Astros odds

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Mariners vs Astros betting preview

Starting pitchers

Yusei Kikuchi (7-7, 4.12 ERA): In his third season in the major leagues, Kikuchi is putting up career-best numbers in ERA, WHIP (1.23), and opponent batting average (.231). Two of his last three starts have come against Houston and while he was eviscerated for seven runs in 2 2-3 innings at Minute Maid Park less than three weeks ago, he bounced back by throwing seven scoreless innings against the Astros last Tuesday. 

Lance McCullers Jr. (10-4, 3.20 ERA): The 27-year-old has impressed this season, pitching to a 1.25 WHIP with an OBA of .210 through 23 starts. McCullers actually dueled Kikuchi in both of those previously mentioned games — he got the win back on August 20 after allowing just two runs in six innings but had to settle for a no-decision last Tuesday, despite throwing five scoreless innings. 

Weather

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

Key injuries

Mariners: Kyle Lewis OF (Out), Jake Fraley OF (Out).
Astros: Jason Castro C (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Mariners are 20-45 in the last 65 meetings in Houston. Find more MLB betting trends for Mariners vs. Astros.

Run line pick

The Houston Astros once again look like the cream of the crop in the AL West but the upstart Mariners won't go away without a fight. Seattle is just 4.5 games behind the 'Stros for the division lead while sitting three games outside a Wild Card spot. 

The Mariners have won six straight games on the road while the Astros have dropped four of their last five contests overall. Although the Astros have struggled at the plate over the last couple of weeks, they have an absolutely loaded lineup and still rank second in the majors with an OPS of .774. 

We expect the Astros sluggers to get back on track sooner rather than later and facing Yusei Kikuchi on the mound for Seattle might be just what the doctor ordered. Kikuchi has struggled against Houston in his career, going 1-4 with a 5.50 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 10 starts.

While Kikuchi pitched well against the 'Stros last week, that was when he was at home in pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park. Now that he is on the road and playing against an Astros lineup that bats an MLB-best .272 against lefties, he could be in trouble. 

The Astros will counter with Lance McCullers Jr. on the rubber. The right-hander has pitched well this season, going 10-4 with a 3.20 ERA. With the Astros having a clear edge in both batting and pitching and playing at home — where they are 45-20 in the last 65 meetings between these teams — back them on the run line. 

PREDICTION: Houston -1.5 (-105)

Over/Under pick

Kikuchi, who made his first All-Star game this year, is putting up decent numbers across the board but his analytics suggested that he was due for some major regression — which has come to fruition in the second half.

Not only is his expected ERA of 4.87 far higher than his actual ERA but he also ranks near the bottom of the majors in both exit velocity on his pitches and hard-hit percentage, which has led to his second-half ERA of 5.48 (across nine starts) being a full two runs higher than his first-half ERA of 3.48.

That's bad news as he heads to Minute Maid Park, where the Astros plate 5.24 runs per game. Although the Mariners average just 4.24 runs per game this season, that number bumps up 4.54 runs/game on the road.

With Seattle going 7-2 O/U in its last nine games on the road and the Over going 4-1 in the previous five meetings between these division rivals, back it again tonight. 

PREDICTION: Over 8.5 (-110)

Mariners vs Astros betting card

  • Houston -1.5 (-105)
  • Over 8.5 (-110)

Picks made on 9/06/2021 at 10:45 a.m. ET

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