The Mariners lost today. That's two losses in three games to lowly Oakland. It happens. It's baseball. But it feels a bit like losing a bench press challenge to your 8-year old nephew.
Umm, Diary? Does Luis Castillo require the challenge of facing a rival ace to bring out his best?
Game 1 as a Mariner. Win vs. former Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole.
Game 2. Eight shutout innings vs. the same Gerrit Cole
Game 3. 6 IP, 2 RS, 9 K in a head-to-head battle vs. reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani
The M's won each of Castillo's first three starts. And then, Sunday happened.
Matching talents against something called JP Sears, Castillo gets bested for the first as a Mariner. JP Sears' own parents haven't heard of him. Castillo allows 8 hits & 4 runs in 5 innings. His worst start since the trade.
Good news: Castillo is likely to face an ace during round one of the playoffs. No worse than a playoff team's third best starter. And facing the best seems to bring out the best in him.
Bad news: We still need to get into the playoffs, and having your ace get outpitched by some pus-slinging unknown is hardly the ideal strategy for achieving our goal.
Big picture? All is good. The Mariners still hold a 2.5 game lead over Wild Card 4 (first team out). But now it's a three-way tie with Tampa & Toronto atop the WIld Card standings.
Castillo at home in game one is our preferred result. So, Diary, please let's not let what I saw today happen again.