Houston Chronicle
Kate Barrington  |  Fri 12th Apr   | MLB

Two of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball collide at T-Mobile Park on Friday (10:10 PM EST), as the Houston Astros (8-5) face off with the Seattle Mariners (13-2) for the first time this season.

There can’t be a perfect time for these streaking teams to rekindle their rivalry.

The Astros, after opening week hiccups in Tampa Bay and Texas, are now starting to find their groove following their impressive sweeps against the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees.

The Mariners are playing like the best team in baseball in the first two weeks of competition. So far, they are smashing all kinds of records with their high-scoring game and it doesn’t look like the machine will stop anytime soon.

It’s the battle of the Wades on the mound, as Astros’ left-handed pitcher Wade Miley (1-1 with 2.31 ERA) takes on Mariners’ Wade LeBlanc (2-0, 4.76 ERA).

The Houston Astros -1.5 points are favorites over the Seattle Mariners.

Houston Astros Team Preview

After a 2-5 start, the Astros have been blazing hot ever since. They have racked up six straight victories in impressive fashion with Jose Altuve at the forefront of their slugging barrage.

Altuve, who won the American League MVP in 2017, is once again poised to make a serious run for the pennant’s top individual prize. The diminutive but dynamic second-baseman is batting .314 with 16 hits, five homers and eight RBIs.

Alex Bregman is currently the most efficient batter for the Astros, sporting a .341/.440/.585 batting line. The trio of George Springer, Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley has combined for 25 RBIs already, showing the incredible depth this team has in its batting rotation.

Seattle Mariners Team Preview

As explosive as the Astros have become this past week, it still pales in comparison with the Mariners’ epic batting onslaught since Opening Day.

Seattle’s offense has been on a historic pace. They are batting .279 with 161 hits, 117 runs, and 116 RBIs. They have already smashed the record set by the 2002 Cleveland Indians by recording a homer in each of their first 15 games of the season. This team is playing with a chip on their shoulder and they are doing it with subpar outputs from their pitching personnel.

Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners Betting Pick

It doesn’t need an analytic mind to predict an Astros-Mariners scoring barrage Friday night. It’s going to be a home run party right from the get-go, and it’s up for the pitchers to at least limit the scores below single digit.

Miley, who had 19 starts with the Mariners in 2016, might have a little bit of advantage against the opposing batters. The 32-year-old hurler boasts a respectable 2-1 record with a 2.89 ERA against Seattle in his career.

LeBlanc, meanwhile, already allowed six earned runs in his last two games, but still salvaged an undefeated 2-0 slate due to the Mariners’ high-octane offense.

So who has the edge?

I feel the Astros can outslug the Mariners in Game 1 of the three-game weekend series. Indeed, Seattle has been a juggernaut offensive team, but all of their victories are at the expense of a struggling Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox and Kentucky Royals.

Houston, on the other hand, swept legit contenders in the Athletics and the Yankees. They aren’t as mercurial as the Mariners’ offense, but they nevertheless get the job done in the closing innings. I think the championship pedigree of Altuve, Correa and Springer will be the deciding factor of the match. Bet the Houston Astros -1.5 points favorite over the Seattle Mariners.

Kate Barrington