ASTROS (40-20) AT MARINERS (25-37)
10:10 p.m. ET; ROOTNW, ESPN, ATTS-SW, MLB.TV
When the Houston Astros last traveled to Seattle, in mid-April, they were in second place in the American League West, four games behind the Mariners.
The Mariners were 13-2, while the two-time defending division champion Astros opened 8-5.
The Astros swept that three-game series, sparking a 32-15 run that has given them an 8 1/2-game lead in the division.
The Mariners? They’ve stumbled to a 12-35 record since and are now in the AL West cellar and 16 games back entering Monday’s opener of a four-game home series against the Astros at T-Mobile Park.
Mariners manager Scott Servais sounded like he’d had about enough after a 13-3 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. The Angels scored seven runs in the second inning and five more in the fifth.
It was the 10th time in the past 33 games the Mariners, who lead the majors in errors, have allowed 10 or more runs.
“Some defensive plays, some things we didn’t make good decisions on, ended up turning into a big inning again,” Servais told reporters. “We’ve seen that. We’ve played this game a few times this year. I’ve about had enough of it, quite frankly.
“When you don’t throw strikes and you don’t play defense and don’t make plays, it’s hard to watch. You’ll have ups and downs with the bat, but you have to make the plays and throw strikes. When you don’t, it’s bad baseball. I know we’re young in some spots and inexperienced in some other spots, but you have to continue to do the right things. It’s about throwing it over the plate and catching the ball.”
To change things up a bit, the Mariners plan to use an “opener” for the first inning or so Monday for the first time this season.
Servais didn’t divulge who that would be, but veteran left-hander Wade LeBlanc (2-2, 6.99 ERA) will get the ball next. LeBlanc is 1-1 with a 5.44 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Astros, including seven starts.
The Astros will send rookie right-hander Corbin Martin (1-1, 5.51 ERA) to the mound. Since striking out nine batters in 5 1/3 innings in his major league debut on May 12, Martin is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in his past three starts. He’s never faced the Mariners.
The Astros are coming off a sweep of a three-game series in Oakland. They won 6-4 in 12 innings Sunday as rookie outfielder Myles Straw, making his second start since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday, went 3-for-4 with three runs and three stolen bases.
Straw scored from second on Michael Brantley’s single in the 12th to provide the winning run.
“I’m doing everything I can and let those guys behind me take care of the rest,” Straw told MLB.com. “Getting on base is my job and create havoc on the bases.”
The 24-year-old speedster is only the fifth player in franchise history to have at least three runs, hits and steals in a game.
“He had a very impactful game, obviously,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “The pressure that he could put on the opponent you could feel every time he was coming up to bat or every time he got on base. And to see him fly around the bases and scoring on singles was huge. … Just exactly the reason why we like him. He can help a winning team.”
–Field Level Media