MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Mariners vs Blue Jays Game 1 Preview (Friday 10/7/22)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Alek Manoah
- The Blue Jays are steady favorites in today's AL Wild Card Round Game 1 against the Mariners.
- Toronto sends ace Alek Manoah to the mound, while Seattle will counter with Luis Castillo.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
For Saturday’s Game 2 article, click here
Mariners vs. Blue Jays Game 1 Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||-134|
|Time||4:07 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
After snapping North American pro sports’ longest playoff drought, the Seattle Mariners will head north of the border for a matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays, looking to make some noise starting in the Wild Card Round.
Seattle traded for superstar starter Luis Castillo at the deadline with this scenario in mind, and will hope he can build on what has been an excellent start to his Mariners career in this pivotal Game 1.
Toronto will counter with Alek Manoah, who has been fantastic in his sophomore season and will likely finish with his fare share of Cy Young votes.
This is Why Mariners Acquired Castillo
Castillo has been true to form for Seattle since his acquisition, pitching to an ERA of 3.31 with a WHIP of 1.10 in 65 1/3 innings.
Castillo holds some wildly similar numbers to his counterpart for this contest, with each holding nearly identical expected hit rates across the board, including an xERA of 3.31 for each.
Castillo’s numbers did take a slight dip overall from August on, with a slug-rate of .349 and ERA of 3.64 — both more modest than his season-long marks.
Castillo has allowed a slug-rate of just .179 while ahead in the count this season, which is the best mark in the league among pitchers who have thrown more than 80 innings, and it will be interesting to see if Toronto looks to attack early in counts.
A whopping 46% of Castillo’s strikeouts have come on fastballs 97 mph or faster this season, which is impressive in its own right. The only problem is he’s going up against a Blue Jays team which has a number of batters who handle high-velo fastballs at a better-than-average rate.
Seattle’s bullpen has been an area of strength this season, and offers what is likely its main clear advantage over the Blue Jays in this series.
That strength has remained constant over the last 30 days with guys like Paul Sewald, Penn Murphy and Erik Swanson remaining in dominant form, and this bullpen is by all accounts the real deal.
Led by superstar rookie Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners’ offense has taken big strides forward this season, and hit to a wRC+ of 115 since the beginning of September.
Manoah Has What It Takes Under Pressure
Seattle’s offense may be in strong form of late, but it’s still a far cry from Toronto’s lineup, which has hit to the best wRC+ in the AL over the last 30 days at 128.
Altogether this season, the Blue Jays have been the third most effective team in the league versus right-handed pitching, and will be entering this matchup at essentially full health, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. likely to be the only meaningful piece out of it’s lineup.
Manoah has not yet experienced a start of this nature in his young career, but from everything we have seen, he lives for the big moments, and his teammates surely would want nobody else going to the bump.
Manoah thrived against top competition and in big spots yet again this season, and I would point to his incredible results down the stretch of September against division rivals New York, Baltimore and Tampa as a testament to that.
Since August 21st, Manoah holds a ridiculously dominant ERA of 1.01, and his dominance down the stretch was a massive part of Toronto locking down home field for this series.
His presence could have a stabilizing effect in this high-pressure spot for his team, although it’s definitely an argument that the same holds true for Castillo and the Mariners.
Manoah’s xwOBA has also plummeted over the last 200 at-bats, and while that ridiculous ERA of 1.01 since August 21st is below his expected mark, his overall play has legitimately taken steps forward.
Since the start of last season, Manoah has allowed a slugging percentage of just .249 to right-handed batters, which is the best mark in the league among qualified starters, and is not something you want to hear if your Julio Rodriguez, Ty France, Cal Raleigh, or any of the other Mariners boppers.
Mariners-Blue Jays Pick
Manoah has given every indication throughout his career that he is made for this type of spot, and I feel confident that he will not falter in under the pressure of this moment.
Manoah will be sitting at a considerable advantage compared to his counterpart in Castillo, as the Blue Jays hold a far-and-away more dangerous lineup than Seattle.
Seattle’s main advantage in this series is its bullpen, but that doesn’t hold much weight in Game 1 if Manoah pitches seven strong innings, as then you’ve got one of the best closers in baseball in Jordan Romano closing things up, with Toronto holding strong options to pitch the eighth.
With Seattle projecting to have no pitching edge in this spot on the road against a much better offensive club, I believe we have value with the favorite here in the Blue Jays.
Manoah is also priced at +215 to record a win in this game, and I feel that it’s far more likely the Jays’ ace finds away to come away with the win than that number suggests.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays Moneyline -134 (Play to -145), Manoah +215 To Record A Win