- The Seattle Mariners (19-18) have lost 10 of their last 13 games
- The Houston Astros (21-14) now lead the AL West by three games over Seattle
- The Astros have a +48 run differential while the Mariners are only +6
This season has been an absolute roller coaster ride for the Seattle Mariners and their fans.
After opening the season as long shots to win the American League, the Mariners were upgraded to AL pennant contenders after a hot start.
More recently, though, the Mariners have fell into a funk, losing 10 of their last 13 games. Their pennant odds have fallen accordingly.
Odds to Win 2019 AL Pennant
|New York Yankees||+300|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+500|
|Boston Red Sox||+650|
|Los Angeles Angels||+4500|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+6600|
|Chicago White Sox||+9000|
|Kansas City Royals||+30000|
*odds taken 5/7
Seattle still finds itself near the top of the pack, but after this recent slide, bettors can write them off as a true threat. They may lead all of baseball with 207 runs scored, but they also sit second-last with 201 runs allowed.
The hitters are mostly over performing compared to career numbers, while the pitching is about as expected, which leaves them in a position to continue fading as the season goes on.
Estradios ? Congrats on #1, Thairo ? pic.twitter.com/uLF4vrKPRD
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 6, 2019
With Seattle fading and fading fast in the AL West, it’s the current division-leading Houston Astros that I’m picking to win the pennant thanks to two players in particular.
Verlander Chasing Second Cy Young Award
Justin Verlander has been a dominant force on the mound this season for Houston. He’s tied for 3rd in the American League with 5 wins, his 2.86 ERA ranks 9th, and his 0.87 WHIP is 2nd. He is a true, top-of-the-rotation star who gives the Astros a big advantage whenever he takes the mound.
The 2011 Cy Young-winner and three-time runner up (2012, 2016, 2018), Verlander could add to his trophy case this season on a team primed to rack up wins.
Justin Verlander K'ing Trout with 97mph, 97mph & 98mph Fastballs. ? pic.twitter.com/22bjMHxJ0O
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 5, 2019
Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley and Collin McHugh give the Astros as deep a staff as any in the American League, but it’s Verlander’s ability to dominate at the top of the rotation that gives them a decided edge.
Springer MLB’s Next Superstar?
George Springer has evolved into one of the games shining stars. He is shrugging off a down 2018 season by slashing .285/.367/.584 with a .951 OPS, 11 home runs (tied for 2nd in the AL), and 29 RBI (T 4th).
Coming into the season, you could have made the argument he was the Astros fourth-best hitter behind Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, but he has gotten back to his 2017 form and is igniting as much fear in opposing pitchers as anyone in the Houston lineup.
George Springer hates baseball games that are 0-0 after 1 inning.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 7, 2019
Much like the rotation, though, Springer is just one mighty cog in a multi-dimensional machine. Houston has five hitters (Springer, Bregman, Correa, Josh Reddick, and newly acquired Michael Brantley) batting .282 or better, and that doesn’t even include Altuve, a lifetime .314 hitter who’s batting just .244.
The sit second the majors in slugging (.489), first in Weighted On-Base Average (.355), and first in wRC+ (127).
When you look at this roster from top to bottom, it’s damn near impossible to find a path for Seattle to make up the ground needed in the AL West. That will leave the M’s chasing a Wild Card spot against three of the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, Indians, and Twins. Best of luck, Scott Servais.
Houston, on the other hand, has all it needs to represent the AL in the World Series.
PICK: HOUSTON ASTROS (+235)
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