New York– Walt Frazier’s famous saying, “The regular season is where you make your name, but the postseason is where you make your fame,” holds true today with MLB’s Wild Card Round in full swing. The bright lights of October are on as two young superstars battle it out at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Julio Rodríguez and the Seattle Mariners square off against Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays in a best-of-three Wild Card series beginning this afternoon. With so much talent on both sides of the diamond, fans are anticipating Seattle/Toronto to be the key series to watch.
“This is something I’ve been looking forward to my entire adult life,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “Just thrilled that we’re able to do it in front of our home fans. I’m really looking forward to a fun weekend.”
“I think the atmosphere in this building during the postseason speaks for itself,” he added.
Though the most thrilling aspect of postseason baseball is the intensity and implications on every single pitch, Game One of a series is always remembered for their elite pitching matchups. The Mariners and Blue Jays certainly meet those expectations of dominant pitching in a short series.
Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (16-7, 2.24 ERA) will take the mound against Mariners flamethrower Luis Castillo (8-6, 2.99 ERA). First pitch is set for 4:07 ET.
“This is what it’s all about right here,” Manoah said. “You train all off season, all year; you go through the ups and the downs. This is what it’s all for, the bright lights. Postseason baseball, this is what you dream for as a kid.”
Manoah proved his status as the top ace this season, leading Toronto’s pitching staff in wins, ERA, innings pitched, and WHIP. However, his one constant struggle is allowing a culmination of walks. In 14 of his 31 outings this season, Manoah allowed two or more walks.
Seattle caught a glimpse of Manoah this season on July 9th as he tossed 7.1 innings while allowing three hits, two earned runs, four walks, and seven strikeouts.
Regardless of the small sample size, here’s a look on how Seattle fares against Manoah.
Carlos Santana: .286 (2-7), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K
Ty France: .333 (1-3), 1 Double
Julio Rodríguez: .000 (0-3), 1 BB
Adam Frazier: .000 (0-3), 2 K
JP Crawford: .500 (1-2), 1 BB
On the other side, Mariners right-hander Castillo is a full-go heading into his postseason debut.
“When I go up on the mound, I’m very confident, my mind is always positive,” Castillo said leading up to Friday. “I’m going to treat it as a normal game and do my job.”
Seattle made headlines by acquiring Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds during the August 2nd trade deadline and added on to the move by extending the 29-year-old to a five year/$105 million deal a month later.
Since the acquisition, Castillo, of Bani, Dominican Republic holds a 4-2 record with a 3.17 ERA and 77 strikeouts over the course of 65.1 innings pitched.
Here’s some numbers on how Toronto fares against Castillo.
Raimel Tapia: .636 (7-11), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Whit Merrifield: .250 (2-8), 2 K
Bo Bichette: .333 (1-3), 1 RBI, 1 K
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: .000 (0-3)
Matt Chapman: .333 (1-3), 1 K
Previously this season, on May 20th, while pitching for Cincinnati, Castillo felt the presence of Toronto’s deep lineup. Recording a loss on the day, he allowed seven hits, two earned runs with five strikeouts across six innings.
“It’s a different game, last time I was here it was a regular season game and now it’s the postseason, where confidence can play an important role here,” Castillo said.
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Robert Rizzo is the assistant editor for Latino Sports
Follow on Twitter: @RobertRiz994
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