Can the Seattle Mariners carry their winning streak past the All-Star break?
Seattle ended the first half of the season on a 14-game win streak to enter the break at 51-42. Despite being nine games over .500, Seattle is 10 games back of the Houston Astros for the AL West lead. And with the Astros in town for a weekend series, the Mariners have a chance to cut into that deficit.
Houston started the second half of the season nine games ahead of the Mariners but swept the Yankees in a doubleheader on Thursday to move ahead by another game. That big lead in the division is why the Astros are favored by 1.5 runs at just +135 at BetMGM on Friday night.
Oddsmakers are leaning toward the Astros breaking the win streak too. Houston is -120 to win the game straight up on Friday night while a Mariners win is +100. The Mariners are -165 if you want to bet them getting 1.5 runs while the total for the game is 8.5 runs.
Jose Urquidy is set to start for the Astros while Marco Gonzales is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Mariners. Urquidy has a better WHIP than Gonzales, while Gonzales has a better ERA. The Mariners lefty has struck out just 53 batters in 100.1 innings.
The division is likely out of reach for the Mariners now that the Astros are 10 games ahead. But Seattle is in the thick of the wild-card race. The Mariners are a half-game behind the Rays for the top wild-card spot and a game ahead of the Blue Jays for the final wild-card spot. As a reminder, three wild cards make the playoffs in each league this year. The top two division winners in both the American League and National League get byes while the No. 3 division winner plays the lowest wild card in a three-game series and the top two wild cards play each other.
There are four teams within four games of the Blue Jays for that final wild-card spot and within five games of the Mariners for that second wild-card spot. Seattle needs to show over the second half of the season that its winning streak is much more indicative of its level of play in 2022 and not the 37-42 record it had before the streak began.
Baseball is fully back
After six games got the schedule restarted on Thursday there are 14 games on the schedule Friday. It’s not a completely full slate because the Twins and Tigers don’t begin their weekend series until Saturday. Detroit played a doubleheader at Oakland on Thursday before a Friday travel day.
The Yankees are -160 to win straight up at the Orioles (+135), another team that was hot to end the first half. The Cardinals are big favorites over the Reds and the Mets are significant favorites at home against the Padres as Max Scherzer faces off against Yu Darvish.
Sungjae Im and Tony Finau favored in Minnesota
Sungjae Im is now the favorite to win the 3M Open after he shot a 6-under round on Thursday. Im is +350 to win the tournament while Finau is +500. Hideki Matsuyama was tied with Im as the No. 2 favorite ahead of the tournament but that status disappeared quickly with a quadruple bogey on the front nine.
Nelly Korda favored to win the Evian
Nelly Korda is +200 to win after shooting a 4-under 67 in the second round of the Evian Championship. The star American shot a 65 in the first round and is just ahead of Brooke Henderson (+300) on the board as Henderson gets her second round going on Friday.
Who cashed tickets Thursday?
The Dodgers beat the Giants 9-6 on Thursday night as the over hit in Los Angeles. The A’s and Tigers split their doubleheader series while the Texas Rangers easily dispatched the Miami Marlins 8-0.