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Free MLB Pick – Friday, July 15

#978 Seattle Mariners (Paxton) -120 over Houston Astros (Fister) 9:10 PM CT

Houston has charged back to playoff contention but the Astros are just 12-16 vs. left-handed starters on the season. On the year an Astros squad with a great reputation on offense is batting just .241 and that includes a .222 mark vs. left-handed pitching. In contrast the Mariners have hit .260 as a team with even better hitting and scoring numbers vs. right-handed pitching. Houston swept Seattle in three tight early July games the last time these squads met and this is a big series for the Mariners to stay within striking distance. The ceiling for James Paxton is very high and his strikeout rate is very impressive even with a small decline in strikeouts over his past two starts. Paxton owns a 2.99 FIP and his numbers are very respectable despite a .390 BABIP that is certain to fall in the coming weeks. Doug Fister has solid conventional numbers but with a 4.87 FIP he looks like a bit of an overachiever, benefitting from a .254 BABIP in the first half. He has allowed 20 hits and 11 runs in his last three starts with eight walks allowed and four home runs surrendered and that could be the direction the season heads for the veteran right-hander after he put together a great run in May and early June. Houston has much more star power in the lineup but Seattle has been the more consistent offensive team and the Astros are a losing road team with a shaky starter on the mound tonight in a nearly even-priced game.

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