Seattle Mariners @ Houston Astros (8:10 ET)
Favorite: Astros -140
Pitchers: Logan Gilbert (2.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) vs. Jose Urquidy (3.93 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
Four days ago the Astros completed the sweep in Seattle, giving a big stiff-arm to the Mariners who have been climbing the divisional standings quickly with their massive win streak. The ‘Stros then turned around to get swept by the A’s while the Mariners bounced back and swept the Rangers, coming from behind in two of the three games. Jose Urquidy hits the mound for the Astros looking to continue his home dominance (2.63 home ERA) and right the ship a bit. The Mariners have been no friend of his, as he’s posted a 7.58 ERA over 19 innings this season; a start difference from Gilbert who has been dominant against the Astros with a 2.37 ERA over 19 innings as well. Factor in that Gilbert is much better on the road (2.42 ERA) and they get Ty France back after a day off and I think the Mariners can keep this game close. I’m not sure they win necessarily, but I will take Gilbert to have a shutdown first five innings for Seattle to be tied or leading.
Pick: Mariners F5 +.5 -130 (1u)
Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times
Cleveland Guardians @ Boston Red Sox (7:10 ET)
Favorite: Guardians -115
Pitchers: Triston McKenzie (3.11 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) vs. Kutter Crawford (4.50 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
The Red Sox have the feel of a team that knows they can’t keep up. Riddled with injuries to their fielders (Story, Devers, Kike Hernandez) and pitchers (Sale, Hill, Paxton, Wacha, Strahm) they can’t manage to keep their head above water lately and Wednesday evening was a clear sign of defeat. After taking the lead in the 7th inning, their horrific bullpen (5.61 July ERA) allowed runs in back-to-back innings to lose the game 7-6. The Guardians on the other hand have regained their form, winning 7 of their last 10 now and streaking into the Wildcard conversation only 2 games back of Tampa. They’re throwing Triston McKenzie Thursday who might be the hottest pitcher in the big leagues right now. He’s allowed just 1 run and 13 hits over 26.2 innings in July and his 4-seam (.205 BA) and curve (.111 BA, 44.4 whiff %) are working like magic. Kutter Crawford has been a godsend for the Red Sox, called up and wasn’t expected much of but he has been a solid starter giving them innings and keeping the Sox in games. He’s nothing exceptional and will allow a few runs, but hasn’t been tee’d off on yet. It’s the aforementioned bullpen and lack of run support that kills him and given the start difference in body language throughout the evening Wednesday there’s no choice but to take the Guardians. They’re fueled with confidence and know they can pounce on a beaten up and defeated Boston to keep pushing for a playoff spot.
Pick: Guardians ML -115 (1.5u)
Joshua Gunter / Cleveland.com