Series preview: Astros visit Mariners as division race tightens

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SEATTLE – The Astros have reached the point of the season when every game seems to matter a little bit more than the one before.

With 38 games remaining on the schedule, Houston holds a one-game lead over the Oakland A's in the American League West division.

The Astros open a three-game series in Seattle starting Monday. The Mariners are 4.5 games behind the Astros in the division. Seattle is also 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot in the American League.

Houston is coming off a three-game series against the A's in which Oakland won two out of three to tighten the division race. The A's have been on an absolute tear for the past month, going 19-7 since July 21.

The Astros have gone 10-14 during the same time.

Jose Altuve is on a rehab assignment, but could return to the Astros during the series in Seattle.

Here's a look at the pitching matchups for the series:

Monday at 9:10 p.m.: Gerrit Cole (11-5, 2.71 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (8-11, 5.62 ERA)
Tuesday at 9:10 p.m.: Undecided vs. Mike Leake (8-7, 3.90 ERA)
Wednesday at 3 p.m.: Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.85 ERA) vs. Marco Gonzales (12-8, 3.91 ERA)