Mariners vs Astros Odds, Picks for Game 2 of ALDS MLB Playoffs
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Castillo #21 of the Seattle Mariners.
Mariners vs. Astros Game 2 Odds
|Time||3:37 p.m. ET|
The Houston Astros squeaked out an improbable victory in Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series. The Astros struck for two runs in the eighth and then Yordan Álvarez completed the comeback with a three-run, walk-off blast off of Robbie Ray in the ninth. The Mariners must win Game 2 and if they have a late lead, let’s hope they don’t use a starting pitcher as a closer against the Astros’ best hitter.
Luis Castillo will start for the Mariners against Framber Valdez Game 2. These pitchers are essentially equal. Yes, Valdez had better second-half numbers, but Castillo has excelled with limiting hard contact. Each pitcher carries a 3.31 xERA against a sub-3.00 ERA.
The Mariners and Astros both have above average relievers, but the Mariners hit lefties better than the Astros hit righties. That is the difference in the game and should be a reason to back the Mariners in Game 2 as they look to even up the series.
Seattle Mariners: Can Castillo Help Even the Series?
Castillo has been a phenomenal acquisition for the Mariners’ rotation. He had a 3.86 ERA in the second half, but his acquisition was a big boost to Seattle’s pitching staff. He ranks in the 35th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 53rd percentile in Hard-Hit Percentage. He is also above average in strikeout rate and walk rate, which will work in his favor against the Astros’ lineup.
Shockingly, Houston has a sub-100 wRC+ (98) against righties since August. The Astros crush lefties, which makes it even more perplexing that the Mariners elected to go to Robbie Ray out of the bullpen in a Game 1. Anyways, moving on from that abysmal decision, Castillo has proven he can pitch deep into a game. He threw at least five innings in 23 of his 25 starts this season and threw 4 2/3 innings in each of the two exceptions.
The Astros will have to find a way to get on base against Castillo. They only have four hitters on the ALDS roster who have posted a xwOBA over .330 against righties since August 1. This means most of the order will be below average. Of Houston’s 14 hitters, nine were below .300 in that timeframe. The Astros will struggle immensely with Castillo’s arsenal since they haven’t seen him at all this season.
The Mariners’ bullpen also had a collective 3.61 xFIP since August 1 in the regular season. Three pitchers are below a 3.00 xFIP: Andrés Muñoz, Matt Brash and Erik Swanson. They will probably be in line to throw when Castillo exits. All three are righties, too. Muñoz did allow two earned runs in Game 1, but Brash threw 2/3 of an inning without allowing a baserunner. Swanson has not yet thrown in the series.
Houston Astros: How Does Valdez Match up with Seattle?
Valdez is comparable to Castillo, but he allows a bit more hard contact, ranking in the 16th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 18th percentile in Hard-Hit Percentage. He falls in the middle of the league in strikeout rate and walk rate, so a small edge probably goes to Castillo.
The Mariners also have seven hitters on the roster with a .330+ xwOBA off of left-handers. Since August 1 – and this is the kicker – Seattle ranks sixth in flyball rate against lefties. Valdez thrives off of keeping the ball on the ground, so Seattle has a favorable matchup.
Lastly, Houston has a bullpen xFIP of 2.82 in that same regular season timeframe. This is exceptional and the best in MLB. However, the Astros do have four relievers with an xFIR under 3.00, so that may provide a small advantage over Seattle. But remember, the Astros did lose Phil Maton to a hand injury.
The Mariners should get some steam in this game given their propensity to hit lefties. Since Houston has struggled with righties, Seattle should be prepared to throw all righties once Luis Castillo exits the game. Take the Mariners to steal Game 2 on the road and go back to Seattle with the series tied at 1. Play this from +138 to +110 (BetRivers).
Pick: Mariners Moneyline (+138)