Mariners play their biggest game of the season vs. Astros

The Seattle Mariners needed to win on Tuesday night. They probably need to win on Wednesday, too.

The Mariners came into a three-game series against the Houston Astros a half-game behind Houston in the race for the final AL wild-card spot. They had just seven games to go, so you can see what losing the series would do for their playoff chances. Then Seattle dropped the first game to Houston.

Seattle practically needed to win the final two games of the series or hope for a mini-miracle over the weekend. The Mariners got a huge 6-2 win on Tuesday, and now face the biggest game of their season on Wednesday. Houston is a -125 favorite at BetMGM.

Win on Wednesday and the Mariners will take a half-game lead over the Astros for the AL wild-card spot. Lose on Wednesday, and they’ll trail by 1.5 games with a four-game series against the division-leading Texas Rangers to finish out the season. The Astros finish at the Arizona Diamondbacks, which isn’t a pushover especially with Arizona still battling to clinch a wild-card spot, but Seattle still is in much better shape if it wins Wednesday. The Mariners have the head-to-head playoff tiebreaker against the Astros already clinched.

Of course, it’s a massive game for the Astros, too. The reigning World Series champs are in real danger of missing the playoffs, and the danger gets worse with a loss on Wednesday. They’ll send Framber Valdez to the mound against the Mariners’ Bryce Miller. Miller has been up and down the past few weeks. The Astros have the edge in the pitching matchup.

It will feel like a playoff game in Seattle on Wednesday night. Whoever wins won’t feel comfortable in the wild-race, but it will be better than taking a loss.

Seattle Mariners' Ty France hits a solo home run against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Seattle Mariners’ Ty France hits a solo home run against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:

Rest of the MLB slate

With the Milwaukee Brewers clinching the NL Central on Wednesday, four of the six divisions have been decided. Two other teams have clinched playoff spots, leaving just two division titles and four playoff spots up for grabs in the final few days of the regular season.

The New York Yankees were eliminated long ago, but they still play in a big game on Wednesday. Gerrit Cole, the AL Cy Young favorite, makes what is likely his final start of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays, who have a 1.5-game lead in the AL wild-card race. The Blue Jays finish with a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, so their path to the playoffs isn’t easy. The Yankees and Jays are both -110 on Wednesday.

The Chicago Cubs had a rough loss on Tuesday, but need to rebound fast. They lead the race for the final NL wild-card spot by a half game over the Miami Marlins. The Cubs face the Atlanta Braves, who are -160 favorites. The Miami Marlins have a right to be upset after its game Tuesday against the New York Mets was postponed due to poor field conditions. The teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday.

What’s the best bet?

It’s hard to bet baseball at this time of year. Many teams aren’t playing for a playoff spot anymore, having either clinched or been eliminated. A time-honored angle is going against the team that just clinched a day earlier, and therefore I’ll take the St. Louis Cardinals at +145 against the Brewers in their hangover game. Milwaukee has locked up the No. 3 seed in the NL and will just play out the string the rest of the week.