Seattle right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is one of the most consistent pitchers you’ll find in baseball, and he boasts elite command and control. In fact, the 35-year-old owns a career 1.07 WHIP as a starter and has the ability to keep the ball on the ground (50.4% GB% in 2015). The veteran hurler posted a 3.54 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 3.27 xFIP and 3.36 SIERA last season, and there is nothing to suggest that similar results will be achieved in 2016.
Iwakuma is coming off his best start of the season, allowing two runs over eight innings in a 5-2 win over the Angels. He now faces a scuffling Houston team that is 3-13 (-12.4 units) at night and 0-5 (-5.8 units) versus division opponents this season. The Astros are also 16-39 in their last 55 road games, 1-5 in their last six games following a loss and 1-5 in their last six during game 3 of a series. Houston has also dropped four of its last five games in which Colin Mchugh was on the mound.
McHugh is off to a disappointing start to the 2016 campaign, going 1-3 with a 7.56 ERA and 2.01 WHIP. The right-hander also toes the rubber in poor form, yielding a combined nine earned runs and 20 hits in his last two starts (9.3 IP). And, the 28-year-old struggled the last two times he faced Seattle, allowing a combined 12 earned runs on 15 hits over ten innings of work. Another concerns for Houston has been its bullpen, which owns a 5.91 ERA on the road and a 4.24 ERA at night this season.
While McHugh is off to a slow start, he is in no way as bad as his surface statistics suggest. McHugh has been victimized by an unsustainable .455 BABIP and 59.5% LOB%, and actually has a 2.92 FIP and 4.38 SIERA. With that said, it’s highly unlikely that McHugh will ever match his 2014 breakout campaign where he posted a 2.73 ERA and 3.11 FIP, together with a 9.14 K/9 rate.
With Houston standing at 2-11 in its last thirteen games with umpire Mike Dimuro behind the plate, take the streaking Mariners as Oskeim Sports’ free pick for Wednesday.
Oskeim Sports’ Free Pick for Wednesday: Seattle Mariners (-126)