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Mariners vs. Astros, Game 2, 3:37 ET
Game 1 was a battle for the Mariners and Astros. In the series opener, the Mariners jumped all over Justin Verlander and I thought my future ticket on the series was toast. Instead, the Astros kept chipping away before they got a walk off home run. Today is a new game, and all Seattle needs to do is steal one game, so even they lost in heartbreaking fashion, the series isn’t over.
Luis Castillo is just the guy to get the Mariners back into the series. Since he joined the Mariners, he has been really solid. He only made 11 starts in the regular season with them, and in four of them he allowed four or more earned runs. He has yet to face the Astros this season, and that might provide a slight edge to the Mariners starter, at least the first time through the lineup. In his first postseason start, he was great. He went 7.1 innings and allowed no earned runs. He did scatter six hits, but he escaped any trouble and jam that he got himself into. The Astros that have had experience against him are 3-for-10, but they were all singles.
Framber Valdez had a historical regular season. He did stumble a bit in two of his last three starts before the playoffs, but his most recent, which was now almost 10 days ago, was fine. He allowed just two hits over five innings and struck out 10. On the season, Seattle has been one of the better teams against him. He has allowed six earned runs over 13.2 innings, he still was able to post quality starts in both of the outings he had against them. The Astros went just 1-1 in the games Valdez started, including losing his only home start. Valdez also has a 3.54 home ERA, more than a run higher than on the road, despite allowing fewer home runs in his own park.
Will Valdez get another quality start today? Sure. I don’t think it makes much of a difference though. I think the Mariners win the first five innings of this game. The books probably agree with the possibility too. For the Mariners to win the game, they are +140, but for the first five innings, they are +110. I like this play. Valdez deserves a lot of recognition for his season, but he allows runs. Castillo might as well, but I think he has a better chance to keep the Mariners ahead through five.
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