The Seattle Mariners take on their division rival in the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series that starts today in Houston.
The Astros had won 12 of the 19 meetings between these teams in the regular season, but every game they played was in July or earlier. So, they haven’t matched up yet with each other’s trade deadline moves which is pretty weird. It’s weird to go two months without facing a division opponent in general, let alone when it’s the last two months of the season. So, it will be interesting to see how these teams respond, but the Astros won 6 of the 9 meetings in Houston. Luis Castillo was a big trade deadline acquisition for the Mariners, and he will be crucial in this series. However, Castillo won’t be pitching until Game 2. The new playoff format is big for the Mariners for that reason though. Instead of pitching in the Wild Card winner take all game, then not pitching until Game 3, he will be pitching in Game 2 of the division series. This means he won’t be on normal rest if they need him to start a Game 5 and gives the Astros a big advantage in pitching if it does go that far.
Logan Gilbert has pitched a quality start all four times he faced the Astros this season. He is still a rookie, so this will be his first career playoff start. That’s my only worry with him, but it seems like he has the makeup to be a good postseason starter. He pitches very well on the road, so I think that will help him in the playoff environment as well. Justin Verlander has faced the Mariners six times this season and pitched a quality start in all but one of those starts. He was actually rocked in that one bad start, but even the Cy Young winners have at least one bad start a season. He allowed 1 run or fewer in 4 of 6 starts against the Mariners. The Astros have the top ranked bullpen in the league this season and they are well rested. The Mariners aren’t too far behind them ranked 6th this season, and they also had two days to rest. I think both teams have trouble scoring today against these starters and the rested bullpens.
I think this game stays low scoring.