Mariners are trying to climb back into the hunt for October in Houston.

Authored by Winning Major League Baseball Betting Analyst Charlie Red McDougall.

MLB Daily Picks are winning at a remarkable rate and will continue through the 2018 World Series. After losing star Robinson Cano eighty games for violating the anti-drug policy manager, Scott Servais did a masterful job elevating players to perform at a maximum level, but it’s been tough sledding since the 2018 All-Star break. Houston is 3-7 their last ten as they prepare for a critical four-day series in Houston. The (73-42) Houston Astros have a five-game lead in the American League West division and are returning home from a successful eight-game road trip in which they won six of eight. Right-Hander Justin Verlander has been lights out on the mound his previous three starts, the most impressive a 2-1 win in Los Angeles over the Dodgers his last outing. Game time is 8:10 PM EST at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Local Television Networks will be broadcasting. The Opening Betting Line has Houston as a -160 home favorite. The betting odds total is six and a half runs for Thursday’s contest.

The Seattle Mariners are nine games out of the top spot in the AL West and have dropped six of nine to the reigning World Series Champions in 2018. Making matter worse they will travel to Oakland to face a red-hot A’s team beginning Monday, August 13th. It doesn’t stop there as they’ll return to the Pacific Northwest to host the Dodgers and Houston again for six games before traveling to Arizona. Ace lefty James Paxton (9-5) with a 3.51 earned run average gets the call Thursday; he’s 1-4 his last four starts. Seattle is 2-7 their last seven overall, and in a ten game span, they’ve won just twice which makes the next two weeks critical as we are approaching the back end of the season. Cano should be cleared to play Tuesday, August 14th in Oakland giving the lineup a much-needed boost. Shortstop Jean Segura, designated hitter Nelson Cruz along with right fielder Mitch Haniger are carrying the load at the plate, and Cano’s added dimension can only help their cause. Bovada.Lv, list the Seattle Mariners at +900 to win the 2018 AL West division crown.

Houston Astros manager A. J. Hinch expects his team to dominate divisional opponents, and they’ve been doing just that, but he’s also aware of the surging Oakland A’s who are only five games behind his squad. Houston has the top pitching staff in baseball, and the bullpen also ranks first in both leagues. Houston has been dominant against every division except the American League East which houses the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, two teams that will not be intimidated by the Astros in the postseason. For now, they’ll enjoy a six-game homestand, and it’s on the road again for nine vs. AL West opponents Oakland, Seattle, and the Los Angeles Angels. Jose Altuve along with his infield battery mate Carlos Correa are nursing minor injuries, giving playing time to reserves who are performing admirably and it could pay dividends in the playoffs. The betting odds over the total has come in six of the last eight between the teams. Bovada.Lv, list the Houston Astros +230 to win the 2018 ALDS.

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Seattle Mariners are can do without Robinson Cano

Seattle Mariners are can do without Robinson Cano

Thursday, December 12th, 2013 was a momentous day for the Seattle Mariners.  While I was blowing out candles on a cake in Miami, they equalled the third-largest deal in Major League Baseball history by signing New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year $240 million contract. Then-M’s general manager Jack Zduriencik may have thought it wise to get the deal done before Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, he didn’t think to send me birthday wishes for my 50th, thereby failing to avoid cursing the deal.

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In the four since-completed seasons with Cano in the lineup, the club hasn’t improved noticeably, finishing third, fourth, second and third in the American League West. When you make a signing of that magnitude, you expect to win. Or you should.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 turned out to be the second momentous day in the marriage between the Mariners and their high-priced second-sacker. Cano was suspended 80 days by Major League Baseball for a positive result to a drug test.

You wouldn’t imagine the Mariners would take the news positively. Not the fans, not Cano’s teammates, not manager Scott Servais or current GM Jerry Dipoto. While Cano had only hit four home runs on the season, he had contributed 24 rbi and 23 runs in 39 games, projecting him into the 90s for both over an entire season. His basic numbers as a Mariner suggest the team was faced with replacing 12 hr, 45 rbi and 40 runs. That isn’t a pleasing prospect.

Robinson Cano's numbers in his first four seasons as a Seattle Mariner.

The Mariners were their typical third in the AL West on May 14th, a game-and-a-half behind the Angels, with the World Series champion Houston Astros nestled in between. Seattle’s suddenly looked like another lost season. How could they stay close until Cano returned?

Only, they’ve gone far beyond staying close. After chasing Dallas Keuchel last night, the Mariners are in first place. In the first 20 games sans Cano, they are 15-5. That’s a .750 winning percentage. With Cano, they were 23-17, or .575.

Former Yankee teammate Mark Teixeira, now an ESPN analyst claimed he wasn’t surprised by the suspension.

Alex Rodriguez got popped by Biogenesis, and Melky [Cabrera, also with the Yankees for a time] got popped. They were best friends.

Cano accepted responsibility for the failed test although he claimed it was prescribed in the Dominican for a medical issue rather than to cheat the system. Nevertheless, it has to create a trust issue within the organisation. When he left New York, former hitting coach Kevin Long lamented his habit of not running to first on sure outs.

When you jog down the line, even if it doesn’t come into play 98% of the time, it creates a perception. But he just wouldn’t make that choice to run hard all the time.

Cano will be eligible to play again for the Mariners’ 121st game, on August 14th in Oakland, ten weeks from now, assuming the club don’t first send him down to the minors for a conditioning assignment. Will Scott Servais be eager to plug him right into the lineup if the Mariners are still rolling along atop the division? How could he ignore an elite power hitter? If the M’s begin to slide with Cano back in the clubhouse and the batting order, what then?

It’s difficult to sit a $240 million player. It’s even harder to trade him when he has a PED suspension on his record. Seattle managed to rid themselves of the original Alex Rodriguez before he went bad. Now, too late, they may have to divorce ARod’s protegé. That’s the Emerald City for you. It never rains but it pours.

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Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.