Luis Castillo has the best sinker of any starting pitcher in baseball. Thrown properly, like in his ALDS Game 7 start on Thursday, the ball seems to move from one side of the plate to the other, but in reality, it only moves about a foot and a half horizontally.
Yordan Alvarez Was at Bat for The Houston Astros
The only issue was that Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez was at the bat, ready to show that the pitch was not as good as it seemed.
Another day, another playoff game, another deficit-erasing, game-winning home run by Alvarez, and another win for the Astros, this time a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five ALDS.
The sinker left Castillo’s hand at 98 mph, landed 4 inches off an outside corner, and landed 371 feet away. Alvarez’s credibility doesn’t need to be bolstered at this point. At the age of 25, he has already established himself as one of the top hitters in the world from the left side of the plate.
But what he’s done in the first two games of the series is unprecedented in baseball’s playoffs. The Astros came from behind to win Game 1 thanks to a three-run home run by Alvarez in the ninth inning.
When Game 2’s Alvarez hit Castillo’s sinker into Minute Maid Park’s outfield grass, they were down 2-1. The 41,774 in attendance went wild on the short porch in left field at Maid Park, contributing to a win that has put them within one win of a sixth consecutive ALCS appearance.
After falling in the sixth inning or later in a playoff game, no player has ever hit more than one go-ahead home run. It happened twice in as many games for Alvarez. I simply try to shut out the world when I go up to the bat,” Alvarez said.
When I Enter a Room, I Try to Have a Game Plan
To prepare for an adventure, “I just sort of try to go in there with a plan of attack and just go out there, try to envision anything that may happen there and. yes.” I agree with you there.
Castillo outdueled Astros starter Framber Valdez, who surrendered two runs in the fourth inning due to a Valdez fielding mistake and an RBI single by Dylan Moore, and the Mariners felt good about their standing for the second game in a row.
Seattle, returning to the playoffs after 20 years, wanted to take a 2-1 series lead back to T-Mobile Park for Game 3 on Saturday. Instead, Alvarez appeared in the sixth like clockwork.
With two outs and the bases loaded, rookie Jeremy Peaa, hitting in the second spot, smacked his second hit of the game. Castillo blasted Alvarez’s start with a turbo-sinker. The ball went out of bounds because of his foul.
He came back with another one. This was a game that Alvarez did not miss. If you’re good, Castillo figured, then so was he. “In the end, I arrived with the same goal in mind—to just get him out—and he made contact with the ball.
I’m not phased by being in a group. When I take the mound, I do it intending to win.” The Mariners’ offense was unable to get anything going against the Houston bullpen.
Astros manager Dusty Baker removed Valdez, the quality-start king, with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the sixth inning, seeing an opportunity to break the game open. Alvarez’s heroics were set up by relief pitcher Hector Neris, who got Cal Raleigh to ground out.
But he didn’t end his ramblings there. With two outs and a runner on second, he made a spectacular catch in left field on a line drive by Eugenio Suarez in the seventh inning.
In the eighth inning, as Alvarez once again came toward the plate, Mariner’s manager Scott Servais seemed to have learned his lesson.
Finishing Off This Discussion
Even though reliever Andrés Muoz had previously walked Pea, he stuck up four fingers to indicate an intentional walk—his 10th this season. Alex Bregman, who was batting cleanup, knocked a single to right on the following ball, scoring Pedro Pea from second.
In this series, “[Alvarez] has done some harm against us,” Servais stated. “Now is a good time to date him. Recognize it as a fact. I believe it’s helpful to establish a game plan for how you want to tackle their roster and which players you need to be especially wary of.
He is a great player who has cost us dearly over the last several days. When you throw balls just three or four inches from the plate and he smashes ’em like that, you know he’s in the zone.”
There was further praise for Alvarez. Last year, he too had a great division series and ALCS, but then he disappeared in the World Series, going only 2-for-20 with no home runs. Early success has continued.
Baker has high expectations that the Astros would give Alvarez the kind of spotlight that would be suitable for someone of his name. Baker referred to him as “Grande.” Eventually, he becomes quite successful.