Game 1 of the American League Division Series begins Tuesday as the undefined hosts it undefined at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Here are the SI Sportsbook odds for the ALDS: Mariners (+180) | Stars (-250)
These two teams are no strangers to each other, with Houston entering this series as the AL West champion and the Mariners entering via a Wild Card berth after finishing 16 games behind the Astros for the regular season.
The Astros and Mariners have met 19 times this year, with Houston winning 12.
Ace Justin Verlander, the AL Cy Young favorite, starts at home for Houston. Verlander pitched to a 1.75 ERA, posted a 0.83 WHIP and allowed just a .186 opponent batting average this season while recording 18 wins.
After Verlander, Houston has incredible starting pitching depth in the likes of Framber Valdes, who just set a major league record for consecutive quality starts, Lance McCullers, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier. Hunter Brown could also be in the mix. Houston’s starters combined for the best ERA in the American League (2.95).
Houston’s bullpen was also excellent. Their 2.80 ERA is the best in MLB and they converted 76.8% of their save opportunities (second best).
Offensively, the Astros are top-5 in home runs, slugging and ISO. The lineup packs a serious punch with veteran Jose Altuve having a resurgent season at the top, hitting .300 with 28 home runs, and youngster Yordan Alvarez having his second-best game behind only Aaron Judge, batting .306 with 37 home runs. Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker are also having great seasons. The Astros have combined for 4.55 runs per game this season (8th in MLB).
On the other side of this game are the surging Seattle Mariners, who look like a team of destiny. What they did this season exceeded all expectations, including a dramatic come-from-behind win to complete a series sweep of the Jays in the Wild Card.
Logan Gilbert looks to draw the start Tuesday for the M’s. Gilbert (13-6, 3.20 ERA) will start on ten days’ rest and was scheduled to start Game 3 against the Jays. After Gilbert, Castillo and Rey should re-enter. Ray has a 10.97 ERA, allowing a .422 BA to Astros hitters this year. Seattle starters combined for a 3.75 ERA this year – 11th best in MLB
The bullpen for Seattle has been outstanding, posting the sixth-lowest ERA this year and converting 73% of save opportunities.
Offensively, the Mariners depend on rookie Julio Rodriguez, who nearly won the Home Run Derby and is also the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year. His 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and .284 batting average have made the difference on this team. Cal Raleigh was a superstar last season and postseason. The catcher has 27 home runs this year and has added an extra spark. Eugenio Suarez leads the Mariners in HR (31), while Ty France has been hitting well all year with a .276 average, 20 home runs and 84 RBI. Even then, the Mariners are no offensive juggernaut. Their 4.26 runs per game in the regular season ranks 18th in MLB.
The Astros are looking to advance to their sixth straight ALCS. Their pitching and hitting are deep and rested after a first-round bye.
The Mariners are in the postseason for the first time in 21 years and look like a team of destiny. Everything is clicking for them at the right time. The Astros have been beaten by teams that have made it in the past (see their 2019 World Series loss to the Wild Card Nationals), but this 106-win team is very well built to bet on.
• Bet: Astros Win Streak (-250)
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