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Jun 14, 2024 7:26 am

Mariners turn to ace Luis Castillo in opener vs. Rangers

Luis Castillo

With the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers coming to Seattle for a three-game series starting Friday night, the Mariners decided to shuffle their starting rotation.

Instead of throwing ace Luis Castillo (5-7, 3.35 ERA) in the finale of a four-game series against the lowly Chicago White Sox, they called up youngster Emerson Hancock to make a spot start Thursday. That pushed back all of Seattle’s rotation members so that the team’s Nos. 1-3 pitchers would face the Rangers.

“Looking forward to the weekend series; it should be fun,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said after Thursday’s 3-2 defeat to the White Sox in 10 innings. “If we’re going to win the division, we’re going to have to go through Texas and Houston.”

Seattle enters Friday’s games with a 5 1/2-game lead over the Rangers in the American League West, with the Astros eight games back in third.

“It’s a long season,” Servais said. “It’s a grind. I know everybody gets so high and so low based on little increments … but (we’re) playing the long haul, as I’ve said all along, and I’m not going to change. It’s our starting pitching that we really lean on. They drive the train here, and we want to keep riding that train.”

The Mariners had just three hits and struck out 19 times Thursday. They nearly pulled off another late rally as Julio Rodriguez homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings.

Seattle’s other run came in the fifth on a solo shot by rookie Tyler Locklear, his first major league homer.

“It’s hard to do it every night, but Julio gave us a chance,” Servais said.

The Rangers are coming off of back-to-back victories against the host Los Angeles Dodgers.

Michael Lorenzen pitched seven strong innings in a 3-1 decision Thursday, with rookie Wyatt Langford adding a pair of RBI singles.

The Rangers also appeared to be looking toward the weekend when they scratched Corey Seager from the lineup Thursday. He missed four straight games with left hamstring tightness before hitting a three-run homer Wednesday in a 3-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.

“To come in here and win the series should do a lot for them,” said Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, whose team was blown out 15-2 in the opener.

Rangers left-hander Andrew Heaney (2-7, 4.06 ERA) is scheduled to start the series opener in Seattle. He is 4-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 21 career appearances, including 19 starts, against the Mariners.

Castillo, who is 1-3, 4.35 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers, is coming off a rough outing in Kansas City in which the right-hander allowed five runs on six hits over five innings in an 8-4 loss Saturday. That snapped the right-hander’s streak of 10 straight starts with two or fewer earned runs allowed.

Castillo’s only win against the Rangers came April 25 in Arlington, Texas. He went six innings in a 4-3 decision and allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. The only runs came on solo shots by Nathaniel Lowe and Josh Smith.

Heaney took the loss that day, giving up four runs on five hits in six innings, despite no walks and seven strikeouts. He also allowed a pair of homers, but they were both two-run shots, by Ty France and Luis Urias, respectively.

–Field Level Media

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