Our in-house MLB expert, Billy J (+4.83 units), gives his best bet for today!
The calendar has flipped from July to August and we are starting to get cooking. Two big plays the last few days from some West Coast teams in the Dodgers and the under in the Angels and A’s yesterday. We are going to stick with a West Coast team yet again in the Seattle Mariners who have flown cross country to face the New York Yankees.
Heading into this series, the Mariners lost three of four to their nemesis in the Houston Astros before heading over to The Bronx. The Mariners and Yankees will meet again next week, but this is a golden opportunity here for the Mariners to make some noise in the American League. They have had their troubles with the Astros and if they are to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001, the Mariners must start taking care of business against the big boys of the American League and have a statement series win.
To help get the Mariners potentially over the hump, the front office made a blockbuster trade in which they acquired Reds All-Star right-hander Luis Castillo. The General Manager in Jerry Dipoto traded several top tier prospects to get this done. If this is the year to get to the playoffs, Dipoto has certainly made the moves to put the team in position to do so. Castillo (4-4, 2.86 ERA) was the hot name on the market and the Mariners seized the opportunity early in that the trade got completed on July 30and did not have to be rushed before yesterday’s deadline. This shows to me at least that the Mariners front office brass is not messing around and they wanted to get their guy so they got him.
Today will be Castillo’s first start in Mariners blue. Since the trade, Castillo is on six days rest and has been red-hot to say the least prior to the trade. In his last seven starts, Castillo is 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA. In his last three starts, Castillo has gone exactly seven innings in each and has thrown exactly eight strikeouts. Unfortunately, he only had one winning decision in those starts. Interestingly enough, Castillo pitched at Yankee Stadium in one of those starts and had a no-decision. In those seven innings against the Yankees, Castillo held the Yankees bats in check for just two total hits.
Castillo will be tasked with an immediate challenge as he will square off against Yankees ace and potential Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole (9-3, 3.30 ERA). Cole has surprisingly been hittable in his last couple starts. In his last two starts against the Royals and Orioles, he has given up 16 hits and eight earned runs. This will be Cole’s first start against the Mariners this year and actually has not faced the Mariners since his days in Houston in 2019.
In this clash of aces, the odds are still heavily in the Yankees favor as we see the money line around -180. The over/under is currently at 7.5 with the potential to dip to 7. The Mariners if they want to start getting some respect in the league need to start as soon as today. Winning the series here on the road against one of the best teams in baseball and potentially beating their ace in Cole would indeed make a statement. This is the reason why the Mariners got Castillo. If the Mariners hang on to a playoff spot, no doubt they will look to have Castillo be their game one starter in the best of three series.
Castillo has been on fire as mentioned earlier, and he is pretty electric on the road this season. His win-loss record doesn’t reflect that as he is 2-3, but has 2.09 ERA with an opponents batting average of .188. He has only given up two home runs in his seven road starts and that of course is important when facing a Yankees team that leads the league in home runs by a wide margin with 184. This will be a marquee game during the day and many baseball fans will have their eye on it. With how good Castillo has been lately and the Mariners as a team trying to make a statement today, I like the great underdog value here and will pick the Mariners to surprise a bunch of folks today.
The Pick: Mariners +158 on Caesars Sportsbook for 1 Unit