With a clean 4-0 win in Friday’s series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Seattle Mariners are one win away from the ALDS.
Luis Castillo Deals in Game 1, Mariners One Win Away
Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah was named the AL’s pitcher of the month for September, but it was Mariners righty Luis Castillo that stole the show in Game 1.
Castillo went into hostile territory on Friday and turned in 7 ⅓ frames of shutout baseball. He struck out five and did not allow a walk against his six hits surrendered.
Acquired from the Cincinnati Reds prior to the season, this is the exact outing the M’s had it mind when it acquired the fireballer from the Reds. Castillo regularly hit 100 mph on the radar gun and while Jays hitters reached base, Castillo’s consistency left them off the scoreboard.
After his tidy work, the Mariners’ bullpen proved too much for what is a dynamite Blue Jays offense, holding their opponent scoreless over the final 2 ⅔ innings of action.
Mariners Now in Control
With the Game 1 victory, the Mariners appear to be in full control of their Wild Card series with Toronto. While the Blue Jays are capable of rendering a comeback of just two games, the Mariners sport -220 odds to win this series, as per BetOnline.
The new Wild Card format benefited the Blue Jays in this scenario. The former one-game series is now a best-of-three, which could allow the Jays to sneak back into the series. While Kevin Gausman and his 3.35 regular-season ERA takes the ball for the home side, the reigning AL Cy Young-winning Robbie Ray counters the right-hander. If you recall, Ray won said Cy Young as a member of the Jays a season ago.
After Castillo and a dominant Mariners bullpen held the Blue Jays in check on Friday, they’ll need to get to their former teammate if their season is to move forward.
Blue Jays Not Left for Dead
The atmosphere at Rogers Centre in Toronto on Friday began electric. While that enthusiasm was quieted from the get-go, these fans will be equally rowdy on Saturday.
Gausman is precisely the guy ready to take the ball and even the series despite a formidable opponent in Ray and a Mariners offense that appeared undeterred on Friday. As baseball fans, we know three-game sets are far from decided after the opener. Now might be the time to back the resilient and dangerous Toronto Blue Jays.
It will be tough. Something about this Seattle club has a Cinderella feel to it. It does not guarantee victory, but the Mariners are on a tear and it’s up to Gausman and a solid Jays bullpen to quiet a hungry Mariners offense that just snapped a lengthy playoff drought for their trip north of the border.
At +190 to win the series, perhaps it’s a good time to back the Jays to rattle off back-to-back victories as the Mariners’ -220 odds don’t offer much in the value department.