Major League Baseball is back this week with MLB Opening Weekend. The Seattle Mariners will take on Houston Astros in the second game of their opening three-game series at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Saturday.

Seattle Mariners

Seattle is trying to end its 18-year postseason drought. The Mariners have not had much go well for them and only had seven winning seasons in 18 years. Their start of the season does not look too good as their starting catcher Tom Murphy will miss the first few games of the season due to a broken foot.

The Mariners struggled offensively last season with a .237 batting average, which was 29th in the league, and 758 runs scored, 21st in the league. Seattle’s pitching last season was not so great either. The pitching staff had a 4.99 ERA and allowed opponents to bat .263 against them, which was 24th in the league.

Pitcher Marco Gonzales did a good job last season, finishing with a 16-13 record and a 3.99 ERA. The Mariners hope Gonzales continues to shine, and have also signed veteran reliever Bryan Shaw, who is included on the 30-man roster against the Astros. Taijuan Walker will also appear for his 2020 debut on Saturday.

Houston Astros

The Astros have dominated the Mariners in recent years, winning the last 14 meetings between the two teams and 19 of the last 20 games after Friday night’s 8-2 win in the season opener. They will try to make it two straight against the Mariners to start the season.

The Astros were one of the best offensive teams in the league last season and led the league with a .274 batting average and 920 runs scored. Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and George Springer combined for 111 home runs and 281 RBI.

Their pitching was also strong, led by Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. He led the league with a 21-6 record and 2.58 ERA, going 3-0 against the Mariners.

Key Factors

Walker came back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. He has a chance to flash some of his potential that he once displayed with the Mariners.

He has also been very strong against the Astros. He made 12 career starts against Houston, going 5-4 with a 4.57 ERA and 66 career strikeouts, which is his most against any opponent.

The Astros managed to play a couple of exhibition games against the Kansas City Royals on Monday and Tuesday. Houston took a 6-3 victory in the first game and repeated the outcome the next day with a 15-6 win. Their victories hint at the Astros’ potential for the season and proved that their offense will once again be strong this season.

The Astros will have their ace Justin Verlander with them against the Mariners, and he will be tough to stop this season.

Predictions

The Houston Astros will seize victory against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday on their home field. The Mariners have yet to prove that they are a top contender this season and will continue to struggle offensively.

The Astros have a strong lineup for the game and will win their 15th consecutive game against the Seattle Mariners.