Mariners Lineup: Castillo gets start as M’s aim to tie ALDS vs Astros

Oct 13, 2022, 9:50 AM | Updated: 10:42 am
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Mariners SP Luis Castillo celebrates against the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 of their AL Wild Card series. (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
(Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

The Mariners dropped a heartbreaker in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, surrendering a four-run lead after seven innings as the Astros took the opener 8-7 thanks to a Yordan Alvarez walk-off home run.

Julio Rodríguez, amazing in Game 1, is why you can’t count Mariners out

Seattle will answer with its best pitcher in Game 2, though, with All-Star ace Luis Castillo getting the start against fellow All-Star Framber Valdez, a left-handed pitcher for Houston.

Castillo was great in 11 starts after coming to Seattle at the trade deadline from the Cincinnati Reds, posting a 3.17 ERA and striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings. He got the ball in the Mariners’ first playoff game in 21 years and turned in arguably the best playoff start in team history, pitching 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball against a dangerous Toronto Blue Jays lineup in a 4-0 win in Game 1 of the AL Wild Card round.

Now, Castillo faces an even tougher task as he will be called on to help tie the series up versus a dangerous Astros team that has gone to five consecutive ALCS.

After Game 2, the series comes to Seattle for Game 3 on Saturday. The Mariners need to win at least one game between Game 2 and Game 3 to force a Game 4 on Sunday, which would also be at T-Mobile Park.

The Mariners are certainly thrilled Castillo gets the start on Thursday, and young outfielder Jarred Kelenic shared his confidence level in Seattle’s ace when talking to reporters on Wednesday.

“I mean, that guy’s a dog. He is pretty special,” Kelenic said. “I really enjoy watching him pitch. He throws the ball so hard and it moves so much, it’s almost impossible to hit. You saw his showing out in Toronto. He’s put in his work the last few days to get ready for tomorrow and I know he’s going to go out there and shove.”

Mariners lineup

Julio Rodríguez, CF
Ty France, 1B
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
Mitch Haniger, RF
Carlos Santana, DH
Dylan Moore, LF
Cal Raleigh, C
Adam Frazier, 2B
J.P. Crawford, SS

Luis Castillo, SP

Astros lineup

Jose Altuve, 2B
Jeremy Peña, SS
Yordan Alvarez, LF
Alex Bregman, 3B
Kyle Tucker, RF
Yuli Gurriel, 1B
Aledmys Díaz, DH
Jake Meyers, CF
Martín Maldonado, C

Framber Valdez, SP

Mariners notes

• Castillo hasn’t faced the Astros since coming to the Mariners this summer. Heck, he’s only faced the Astros once in his six-year career. That came in 2019 in Cincinnati when the right-hander tossed six innings of two-run ball, striking out seven and walking six in a Reds win.

• With a lefty on the mount, Dylan Moore gets the start over Kelenic in left field. Moore slashed .247/.393/.402 versus lefties this season.

• Speaking of that lefty, Valdez had 25 quality starts (six innings or more while allowing three or fewer earned runs). He also led MLB in home runs allowed per nine innings at just 0.5.

• The trio of Julio Rodríguez, Ty France and Eugenio Suárez combined for a 7-of-13 day with five RBIs, four runs scored and four extra-base hits in Game 1.

• The decision to use Robbie Ray against Alvarez on Tuesday certainly caught many by surprise, but manager Scott Servais on Wednesday told reporters he stood by the decision and the reasoning that got the team to that decision. He also said that Erik Swanson, who many thought could have been used in that situation, is and has been available despite not being used this postseason.

Drayer’s Notebook: Why Mariners stand behind Game 1 decisions

• As expected with Ray pitching out of the bullpen on Tuesday, rookie George Kirby is the Mariners’ Game 3 starting pitcher.

ESPN’s Passan: Why Mariners still have a shot vs Astros in ALDS

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