MLB American League Division Series Betting Preview for Saturday’s Astros vs. Mariners Game 3

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George Kirby #68 of the Seattle Mariners pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFP.

Sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for Saturday’s ALDS action between Houston and Seattle.

After Houston’s walk-off victory in Game 1, the Astros also took Game 2.

Currently, Houston leads the ALDS 2-0. But now the series moves to Seattle. Will this change things?

For reasons that I will explain, this game is worth investing in, and you should play the moneyline at one of our top-rated sportsbooks.

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Houston Astros vs. Seattle Mariners

Saturday, October 15, 2022 – 04:07 PM EDT at T-Mobile Park

Who Starts for Houston?

Houston starts Lance McCullers Jr. With his year essentially having begun on August 13, McCullers is making his ninth start of the season,

While his ERA looks super impressive, it masks a vastly less impressive 3.49 FIP (like ERA but factors out fielding).

He has benefitted from an unsustainably high 88% strand rate.

There is just no way that he'll continue managing to strand these many runners.

Soft Competition 

McCullers Jr. has also benefitted from soft competition. Four of his eight games came against a team that ranks bottom-six in averaging fewer than four runs per game.

His performance against the two top-10 lineups that he faced, Philadelphia and Atlanta, helps suggest what his numbers would be like if he had faced stiffer competition more often.

His FIP was 4.11 against Philadelphia and 5.11 against Atlanta.

Mariners Batters' Outlook 

It is tempting to suggest that Seattle is a soft test for any pitcher. But remember that the Mariners play at least half their games in a uniquely pitchers-friendly ballpark.

Away from home, they average 4.65 runs per game. If this were a season-long, overall statistic, then they would rank seventh in runs per game.

Tonight, look out especially for Ty France. France is 6-for-12 with two doubles in his career against McCullers Jr.

Who Starts for Seattle?

George Kirby starts for Seattle on Saturday. Kirby's 3.39 ERA masks a 2.99 FIP, which reflects how well he is truly performing.

Kirby During the Day 

Pertinently to my Best Bet for this game, Kirby is especially profitable during the day.

Whereas the Mariners are 9-7 when he starts at night, they are 7-2 when he starts during the day.

His superior ability during the day to limit runs and opposing slugging obviously contributes to this disparity.

Kirby's Preferred Competition Level 

While Kirby has suffered a couple bad starts, lately, his form can hardly justify pessimism about his chances today. He has limited five of his last eight opponents to one run or fewer.

It may seem like the fact that Kirby's last bad starts came against low-quality teams should count more strongly against him. But, oddly, it shouldn't.

To explain, he regularly thrives not against non-playoff teams but against playoff teams. His worst games, throughout the year, have come against non-playoff teams like Baltimore.

In six starts against playoff teams, he allowed no more than two runs. Moreover, his FIP was under 2.00 in five of those games.

Astros Batters' Outlook 

After getting to play two games in their small ballpark, Houston batters will have trouble adjusting to Seattle.

Their regular season slugging rate was .363 in Seattle; to compare, Seattle's was .380 in Seattle.

Facing Kirby only adds to the problem: Kirby achieved a 1.11 FIP against them in his one start against them, which took place on July 31

Kirby's Pitching Repertoire

Kirby is a tough pitcher to hit. He invests a unique level of balance in his arsenal through the variety that characterizes his pitch selection.

Primarily, he throws his fastball, which averages just over 95 mph. This pitch selection is intelligent because his fastball is his best pitch, opponents slug .345 against it.

But he also throws five different pitches between 8-14% of the time, which explains the wide contrasts in velocity and fly or ground balls that opposing batters experience when they face him.

Kirby's Command 

The fact that Kirby walks 1.52 batters per 9 innings is impressive.

Kirby's walk rate is this low despite his proclivity, as heat maps show, to work the borders of the strike zone.

His ability to throw strikes while targeting spaces that are only narrowly striked, illustrates the strength of his command.

Astros vs. Mariners: The Verdict 

Seattle will get a boost from returning home, where it is well-equipped to hurt Houston's starting pitcher and so, procure a lead for its excellent starting pitcher that he will help protect.

For the above reasons, invest in the Mariners' moneyline for this game's MLB pick.

MLB Pick: Mariners ML (-105) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Mariners ML (-105)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.