After dropping their series opener, the Seattle Mariners (65-55) have taken the last two from the Kansas City Royals (39-83) to gain a game in the American League Wild Card standings. They’ll look to get an even better playoff position with a win in the series finale on Thursday when they send George Kirby (10-8, 3.11 ERA) to the mound against Angel Zerpa (1-1, 7.71 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. ET.
The Mariners are -225 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Royals are +185 underdogs. The total is set at 9.
Mariners-Royals picks: Thursday, August 17
Out: SS J.P. Crawford (concussion), C Tom Murphy (thumb sprain), SP Bryan Woo (right forearm inflammation), OF Jarred Kelenic (left foot fracture)
Out: SP Brad Keller (right shoulder impingement), RP Taylor Clarke (right elbow inflammation), 1B Nick Pratto (left groin strain), SP Daniel Lynch (left shoulder strain), SP Zack Greinke (right posterior elbow soreness)
George Kirby v. Angel Zerpa
Kirby bumped himself to the forefront of the AL Cy Young race his last time out by tossing nine scoreless innings against the Baltimore Orioles in a game the Mariners lost in extras. Kirby leads all of baseball in WHIP (1.002), walks per nine innings (0.9) and strikeouts per walks (9.36), and is in the 100th percentile in walk rate. Since allowing five runs against the Twins on July 25, Kirby has allowed two earned runs over 21 innings.
Zerpa will be making his first start of the season due to the abundance of injuries in the Royals’ starting rotation. He picked up his first win of the season his last time out when he allowed five runs in four innings against the Cardinals in a bulk role. He did okay in two starts last season, allowing two runs in nine total innings.
The last two games were slugfest, but I’m banking on that stopping tonight. Kirby has been a maestro at keeping runners off the basepaths recently and should be able to settle in easily against a Royals lineup that’s overachieved the last two days.
Pick: Under 9
The Mariners win their third straight game. Seattle showed its fight in this series against the Royals, and at this point, the series has turned into a battle of attrition. Kansas City just doesn’t have enough depth to win that battle.