Two AL West rivals renew acquaintances in an ALDS rematch as the Houston Astros travel to take on the Seattle Mariners in a three-game weekend series. First pitch of game one is set for 10:10 p.m. ET on Friday night. It’ll be a matchup of two electric righties on the mound, as Cristian Javier (2-1, 3.48 ERA) goes for Houston against Seattle ace Luis Castillo (2-0, 1.82).
The Mariners are currently -135 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Astros are +115 underdogs. The run total is set at 7.
Astros-Mariners picks: Friday, May 5
Out: SP Luis Garcia (elbow), SP Jose Urquidy (shoulder), OF Chas McCormick (back), 2B Jose Altuve (thumb), RP Parker Mushinski (back), SP Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm), OF Michael Brantley (shoulder)
Out: SP Robbie Ray (elbow), RP Andres Munoz (deltoid), UTIL Dylan Moore (core)
Cristian Javier vs. Luis Castillo
Just when it looked like Javier was ready to take the leap, he regressed again with three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings last time out against the Philadelphia Phillies. Just as his four-seam fastball started looking as explosive as it did last year, he lost his feel for his slider — a big deal for a two-pitch pitcher. Javier’s season-long numbers are still very solid, and his potential is obvious (he struck out 10 in six innings of one-run ball against the Atlanta Braves just last week). He’s yet to really put it all together with consistency, but a weak Mariners lineup could be what the doctor ordered.
Castillo, meanwhile, put it all together upon coming over to Seattle at the trade deadline last year and hasn’t slowed down since. The righty has allowed more than two runs in a start just once all year while never going less than five innings, and his electric fastball/changeup combination makes him among the most consistent arms around.
Both of these offenses are in a bad way right now — especially the Astros, who rank 27th in wRC+ over the last two weeks and are really missing Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley right about now. Outside of Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, there’s just not a lot of thump in this Houston lineup right now, while the Mariners have been anemic all year amid Julio Rodriguez’s sophomore slump. This is the lowest number of the day, but it’s a number an Astros game has cleared just once in their last eight — and with the way these righties are throwing I’m still taking the under.
Pick: Under 7
This game strikes me more as a coin flip than the odds suggest, and when that’s the case I’ll ride with the side that’s got more juice. Castillo could certainly make this look foolish, but I don’t think the Mariners will score much off Javier either, so give me plus odds and Alvarez to make the difference in a pitcher’s duel.