Twins vs. Mariners Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Wednesday, July 19
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Mariners pitcher Luis Castillo.
Twins vs. Mariners Odds
-105 / -115
-105 / -115
The Twins and Mariners split the first two games of their four-game series in Seattle. Now, the Mariners will turn to their ace in Game 3 as Luis Castillo takes the mound against veteran right-hander Kenta Maeda.
Both teams sit right around the .500 mark for the season with Minnesota holding down first place in MLB's worst division — the AL Central — and Seattle chasing a wild card spot in a very competitive American League race.
Castillo is consistently considered a top-line starter in MLB, but there's been a real drop in his underlying indicators most of this season. Add in the slight drop in his fastball velocity, and I've bet against him pretty consistently in 2023.
The same is true on Wednesday night, as the market opened Minnesota +140 before taking money overnight to the current +125 consensus price.
It took some time for Maeda to build back to his pre-injury levels, but the underlying metrics suggest he's back.
He had a real home run problem early in the season and was briefly on the injured list as his fastball velocity and spin rates across the board really struggled to return. He had Tommy John surgery, so it's not a total shock that Maeda wasn't the same pitcher right away.
Now, Maeda's 3.86 xERA is comparable to where he has been for most of his MLB career. He had the one elite 2020 shortened season, but he had a 3.73 xERA in 2021, a 3.45 in 2018 and a 3.26 xERA in 2019.
His K-BB% sits at 18.8% this year with an improved strikeout rate that pushes him into the 70th percentile in the league.
The underlying Stuff+ models still don't love his fastball, but his slider and splitter are his most-used pitches, and the models really like both pitches overall. Hitters are slugging .731 against his four-seamer, but he doesn't throw it enough to impact him too negatively.
Seattle is a patient offense that takes a lot of first-pitch strikes, and as a result, Maeda should be able to get ahead and use his excellent breaking balls and off-speed pitches to generate whiffs against a strikeout-happy Seattle lineup.
Jhoan Duran also hasn't pitched this series, so you can pencil him in for an inning in any close, medium-to-high leverage spot tonight. He's elite and helps Minnesota's pitching outlook considerably.
Castillo would consistently sit between 97-98 mph on his four-seam fastball in years past. He hasn't really sat there at any point in 2023.
The strikeouts are up in general — a change in pitch mix away from a sinker is a major reason for that — but the fastball is more vulnerable at the slightly reduced velocity.
Castillo has been barreled on 9.6% of batted balls and really struggled against lefties because of the slightly reduced velocity and sinker usage.
His expected ERA comes in at 3.81, the highest mark of his career since 2018. His average launch angle allowed is also at a career high, and his fastball Stuff+ is down because of the fastball velocity dip.
Castillo is still an effective pitcher; he's just not as good as the market has been pricing him most of the season. You've seen consistent market movement against him, including starts against the Yankees and Jhony Brito and the Angels with Shohei Ohtani in the last few months.
Image via FanGraphs.
Twins vs. Mariners Betting Pick
One of the major issues for Castillo this season has been allowing power to big left-handed power bats. With Max Kepler and Joey Gallo, the Twins have plenty of power from the left side.
Minnesota will strike out plenty, but the lineup also hunts barrels and is tied for second in the entire league in barrel rate at 10.1%. Castillo should be able to generate plenty of whiffs, but his fastball is vulnerable against this lineup.
Even though Seattle has a slightly better starting pitcher, the full-strength bullpens are close to a wash in projections and the Twins have a marginally better lineup because of the power output.
Both teams will strike out a lot, but Minnesota's offense is slightly above average in 2023, compared to Seattle's slightly below-average unit.
I'd bet Minnesota at +125 or better on the moneyline.