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April 25, 2016

There is one pick tonight.

Take Seattle Mariners (-140) on the ML against Houston Astros risking 4.2% to win 3%.
(Walker must start for wager to have action)

The Houston Astros have had a rather tough start to the season thus far and have not yet performed up to the lofty expectation placed on them in the offseason. At just 6 and 13 on the season, there is still plenty of time left to turn things around however, the holes in their game will need to be patched up before they are able to turn the corner. A big reason for their struggles has actually been the quality of their pitching. Their Ace, Dallas Keuchel, has been roughed up to start the season and things haven't been much better for newly acquired Doug Fister who is just 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA thus far. Their bullpen has also been atrocious this season, largely responsible for the 96 runs they've allowed as a team, which are 30 more than the M's (66)!

The Astros bullpen could be up against it again tonight as they are coming off another tough, tiring and deflating loss to the Boston Red Sox. Starter Scott Feldman lasted only 4 innings and the bullpen were relied on for the remainder of the game which lasted until the 12th inning. The Astros managed to tie up the ballgame in the bottom of the 9th and gave them hope of pulling of what would have been an emotionally lifting victory. Instead, their bullpen collapsed in the 12th, allowing the Red Sox to score 2 runs and 'steal' the victory out from under them. Not only is that a deflating loss, but they then had to get on a plane and travel to Seattle for a quick turnaround. To say this is a less than ideal situation for the Astros would be an understatement! The Mariners know that facing Dallas Keuchel will be difficult tomorrow and that's why it's important for them to open the series with a victory tonight.

Meanwhile, the Mariners bullpen should be fresh heading into this contest as they got a quality start from starter Wade Miley and used Vincent for the final few outs. Houston will also likely find themselves in a bit of trouble tonight against young flamethrower, Taijuan Walker who seems to get better and better each time he steps on the mound. Walker has made three starts and gone six innings in each start. His hits allowed have gone done in each consecutive start from seven to five to three and his earned runs allowed have gone down from two to one to zero runs allowed in each respective start. He has an extremely respectable 14:2 strikeout to walk ratio this season and has been a welcome addition to the roster behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Walker's K/BB ratio isn't a fluke as he has had even more success against the Astros and comes into this contest with an impressive 17:2 K/BB ratio against active Houston players! Given that he has baffled this lineup in the past, he could be in for a stellar performance tonight.

The Mariners lineup should be able to capitalize at the plate tonight and provide their starter with quality run support as they have not only hit right handed pitchers well this season but Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager have all hit Doug Fister hard in the past and could present problems for the former Tiger. Seattle has numerous edges in this matchup from starting pitcher, to bullpen, to home field advantage where they're keen to do well in front of home crowd after impressive performances on the road. At 9-9 on the season, they don't want to fall below .500 by losing at Safeco to AL West opponent Houston. They should have no shortage of motivation for this game knowing that with a 'W', they can potentially move from 3rd place to top of the division if Oakland and Texas lost tonight! This is a small price to lay with the team that owns several key edges tonight.

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