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MLB

Mariners look to Luis Castillo to tame Shohei Ohtani in series opener

The series between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels promises to be a pitching masterclass with Castillo and Ohtani going head-to-head.

Update:
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani hits an RBI single against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium.
Gary A. VasquezUSA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners hope to jump-start their offense when they begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Monday night. The task will be formidable, however, as they’ll face Angels ace Shohei Ohtani (10-7, 2.68 ERA) in the opener. The Japanese star recently matched a record set by Babe Ruth and passed Ichiro Suzuki with the second-most home runs hit by a Japanese player in MLB history. The only genuine two-way threat in MLB for some time now, Shotime is a serious prospect for any team.

Seattle dropped two of three over the weekend to the host Texas Rangers and sits in the second American League wild-card spot. The Mariners were held to four hits in a 5-3 loss on Sunday.

Servais: “On the road, you have to hit”

We’ll let this one go, but we need to start playing a little bit better offensively,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “On the road, you have to hit. You’re not going to win games 2-1 or 3-2 on the road. You’re gonna have to put up a few more runs, and we will. We’ll get back to it.”

The Angels have built some momentum, winning five of their last six games. They took two of three against the visiting Minnesota Twins over the weekend.

Angels second baseman David Fletcher had two hits in Sunday’s 4-2 victory and is 12-for-33 (.364) during an eight-game hitting streak.

Ohtani, a right-hander, snapped a three-start losing streak on Tuesday when he tossed six scoreless innings in a 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.

The victory made Ohtani, 28, who also went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, the first player since Babe Ruth (1918) with at least 10 wins and 10 home runs in the same season.

Nevin: “Every time we’re out there, he does something special”

“I feel like every time we’re out there, he does something special,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “You try not to take for granted what we’re seeing every night, but it’s pretty awesome to be a part of. These things don’t go by us lightly.”

Ohtani is 7-3 with a 1.70 ERA and 92 strikeouts over his last 10 starts, covering 63 2/3 innings.

The reigning American League MVP is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four career starts against Seattle. He tossed six scoreless innings against the Mariners on June 16 in Seattle.

Seattle will counter on Monday with right-hander Luis Castillo (5-4, 2.71), who is set to make his third start since being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds at the trade deadline.

Castillo, 29, received a no-decision after tossing eight scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on Tuesday. Castillo and Yankees ace Gerrit Cole threw a combined 15 shutout innings before Seattle won 1-0 in 13 innings.

That’s one of the best major league games I’ve ever watched. The pitching in that game was unbelievable on both sides,” Servais said.

Castillo will face the Angels for just the second time in his career. On Aug. 5, 2019, while he was with the Reds, he allowed two runs and struck out 13 over seven innings in a 7-4 victory.

Seattle outfielder Mitch Haniger is batting .400 (16-for-40) with two home runs and five RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak.

Curt Casali made his Mariners debut on Sunday, going 0-for-2 with a walk, and will serve as the team’s backup catcher after Luis Torrens was outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma.

Casali was acquired from the San Francisco Giants on 2 August and came off the injured list (right oblique strain) Thursday.

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