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Luis Castillo, Shohei Ohtani to face off Friday, but only for Mariners fans with Apple TV

By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

SAN DIEGO – The opening game of the Mariners’ three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim, California, will feature one of the top pitching matchups in Major League Baseball.

The Mariners will send ace Luis Castillo to the mound for his 13th start of the season. The Angels will start two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.

Castillo is coming off a strong showing Friday against the Rangers at Globe Life Field, holding baseball’s highest-scoring offense to one run on five hits in seven innings .

Unfortunately, his teammates didn’t score a run in the game, and Castillo was saddled with the loss.

Castillo is 4-3 this season with a 2.55 ERA. In 70⅔ innings , he’s struck out 82 and walked 16. His first win of the season came against the Angels on April 4 when he pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings, allowed two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Castillo held Mike Trout hitless, striking him out twice while retiring Ohtani twice and walking him in their third meeting.

After a three-start stretch from May 5-17 in which he allowed 14 runs (12 earned) on 19 hits in 17 innings, Castillo has rebounded, thanks to a few adjustments to his mechanics.

In his past three starts, he’s allowed just one run (0.47 ERA) on 10 hits with 24 strikeouts and five walks.

Ohtani has made 12 starts this season, posting a 5-2 record with a 3.30 ERA. In 71 innings , he’s struck out 96 batters with 29 walks. One of his wins came April 5 at T-Mobile Park. He pitched six innings, allowing one run on three hits, striking out eight and walking four.

On Aug. 15, Castillo and Ohtani faced off at Angel Stadium, each allowing two runs in their outing. The Mariners prevailed 6-2, thanks to a four-run ninth inning.

While the pitching matchup is appointment viewing, it won’t be televised on the two teams’ normal regional cable networks.

The game has been selected by Apple TV+ as part of its “Friday Night Baseball” package and will only be aired on the streaming service. People wanting to watch the game must either be an Apple TV+ subscriber or sign up for a free two-month trial subscription to the service.

MLB signed a streaming deal with Apple last year, which gives the streaming service exclusive rights to two games on Friday evenings that cannot be aired on other networks. Apple is paying MLB a reported $85 million for those rights.

The Angels haven’t announced their probable starters for the final two games of the series, but they are expected to start left-hander Patrick Sandoval on Saturday. The Mariners will go with rookie right-hander Bryan Woo, who will make his second MLB start after lasting just two innings in his MLB debut Saturday against the Rangers.

Seattle will send fellow rookie Bryce Miller to the mound Sunday.

The Angels are likely to counter with right-hander Griffin Canning.