This is one of the Wild Card series I am most looking forward to this weekend. The Seattle Mariners are making their first postseason appearance since 2001 so they really have nothing to lose. The Blue Jays on the other side, were one of the World Series favorites before the season despite missing the playoffs last season. They made the Wild Card series in the COVID shortened season in 2020, but they lost in the first round. They should come back with a vengeance this series, but at the same time, this roster is pretty inexperienced in the playoffs just like the Mariners. That worries me a bit at this line, but in the playoffs, lines are pretty sharp in general. For that reason, I will probably start making some player props plays in these articles instead of just sides. Last season, I went 75-90-6 +4.15u in the playoffs with player props so hopefully we can keep that momentum going. Obviously, most of them are plus money considering I was 15 plays below .500 but still profited. So, expect more player props here for the playoffs, but for the Wild Card series I will go with a side in Game 1.
Alek Manoah will be making his first career playoff start in this game, and something tells me he lives for these moments. He is a big game pitcher, and I think he is just itching to make his postseason debut. We never really know how a pitcher will show up in his first career playoff start, but Manoah has the make-up to have success. Luis Castillo is making just his second career playoff start and he pitched well in his first playoff start in the COVID shortened season in 2020. The Mariners do have the slight bullpen advantage ranked 6th in the league to the Blue Jays 13th ranked bullpen, but the Mariners have been struggling to score and both bullpens will be well rested. The Blue Jays have the 2nd best wOBA in the league against righties while the Mariners are ranked 14th so there is a big lineup advantage there. The Mariners swept the Blue Jays in a four-game series in Seattle in July the last time they played, and they’ve won 5 of the 7 games between them this season. I think the Blue Jays will have that in the back of their minds this series, I like the Blue Jays in Game 1.
John's Pick: Blue Jays -145 vs. Mariners