The Mariners did everything they could to win Game 1 over the Astros, but in the end, they beat themselves. Can Seattle bounce back from Yordan Alvarez’s crushing walk-off home run, or will the Astros take full control of the series?
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Thursday afternoon’s game in Houston.
Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Betting Odds
The Astros are home favorites again at -162 on the moneyline, with the over/under set at 6.5 runs.
Houston would probably be favored with or without the comeback win in Game 1, but oddsmakers are giving some credit to the Mariners with Luis Castillo on the mound. The midseason acquisition carved up the Blue Jays in the Wild Card Round, so we could be in for a low-scoring game.
Seattle Mariners vs. Houston Astros Picks & Prediction
My pick: Astros Moneyline (-162)
The Mariners are a resilient bunch. Even the most resilient team might have trouble coming back from the collapse we saw in Game 1. The matchup with Framber Valdez isn’t an ideal one for Seattle’s offense, and the bullpen is well-rested after the off day if anything goes wrong. The Mariners have a chance because of how dominant Luis Castillo can be, but at +136, there isn’t nearly enough value to take that risk.
Seattle Mariners Starting Lineup
CF J. Rodriguez R
1B T. France R
RF M. Haniger R
3B E. Suarez R
DH C. Santana S
C C. Raleigh S
SS J. Crawford L
LF J. Kelenic L
2B A. Frazier L
Seattle Mariners vs. Framber Valdez
Framber Valdez didn’t get as much attention as Justin Verlander this season, but the left-hander is poised for a top-5 finish in Cy Young voting after a career year. Valdez posted a 2.82 ERA across 31 starts (201.1 IP), with a 3.06 FIP and 1.16 WHIP.
Valdez puts runners on – his 3.0 BB/9 rate is on the high side for a pitcher of his caliber – but he allowed only 11 home runs in his AL-leading 201 innings. That’s a serious weapon against a Mariners team that is 9th in all of baseball with 1.22 HR/game. Seattle thrives on hitting home runs at the right time, so unless Valdez gets himself into trouble with walks, he could have a big day.
Valdez had a 7.78 ERA across five postseason starts last season, so he’ll have to better manage the pressure. He did deliver for Houston in the 2020 Postseason. Valdez allowed 3 ER in both of his starts against the Mariners this season as Seattle did manage to get runs on the board without hitting homers. The Mariners only hit marginally better against left-handers, so there shouldn’t be much of a natural advantage here.
Houston Astros Starting Lineup
2B J. Altuve R
SS J. Pena R
LF Y. Alvarez L
3B A. Bregman R
RF K. Tucker L
1B Y. Gurriel R
DH T. Mancini R
CF C. McCormick R
C M. Maldonado R
Houston Astros vs. Luis Castillo
Luis Castillo, who has a fresh new contract from the Mariners, had a very strong season between Cincinnati and Seattle. Castillo posted a 2.99 ERA over 25 starts, with a 3.07 FIP, 1.08 WHIP, and 10.0 K/9. He dominated the Blue Jays last week and might benefit from the fact Astros hitters haven’t seen him yet this season.
Castillo is a high-strikeout pitcher going up against a low-strikeout Astros lineup. Scott Servais tried to use another high-strikeout arm against Yordan Alvarez, and the decision blew up on him – the top of this Astros lineup is full of extremely intelligent hitters who might give Castillo a harder time than the Blue Jays did.
Castillo only allowed more than 3 ER in four of his 25 starts this season. While anything can happen in the postseason (as we’ve seen repeatedly with the Mariners), this game should easily be lower-scoring than Game 1.