First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Kendall Graveman (0-0, -.-- ERA) vs. Josh James (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros Predictions
There’s been at least nine runs in each contest of this four-game season-opening set between the Mariners and Astros. Will that also be the case in the series finale?
Even with two unsure pitchers that have a lot to prove entering this first assignment of the year, I do not envision that outcome playing out once more for this matchup.
For Graveman, this is his first start at the big league level since May 11, 2018 — a span of more than 800 days! He returned from Tommy John surgery a season ago as a member of the Cubs but was limited to only a pair of short minor league starts.
Despite the uncertainty, there’s still a lot to be positive about in Graveman. First of all, before the injury, the 29-year-old right-handed displayed plenty of flashes and was a solid pitcher overall, as evident in how he registered a near sub-4.00 ERA for three straight campaigns from 2015-17. That is not easy to do while in the American League West.
Graveman was one of the best pitchers in camp by all accounts, even tying for the team lead in K’s during summer camp with 13 strikeouts in his two intrasquad starts. He’s also coming back holstering a four-seam fastball to complement his sinker, while touching mid-90’s velocity as well.
So long as Graveman can hang in there to get through the majority of the ballgame, we can lean on James to do most of the rest. Everyone should be excited for the young flamethrower, as he embarks on his first full-season (sorta) workload as a starter.
In his four previous career assignments, James strung together a 2.20 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Unsurprisingly, he also struck out more than a batter per inning and it’s worth noting that James’ 14.77 K/9 (!) mark last year was fifth-highest ever by a rookie. That mostly came exclusively as a reliever but it further indicates his enormous potential and high ceiling.
Additionally, James holds a 2.08 ERA in eight appearances (one start) lifetime against the Mariners. I like where both guys are at mentally as well and that may play a role in cashing this under wager.
MLB Other Picks & Leans - July 27: Angels-Athletics Under 9
Zylbert’s 2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 2-1, +0.83 unit
Yesterday’s Result: Diamondbacks-Padres Under 8.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit