Mariners’ Luis Castillo to tackle Angels, rookie Jack Kochanowicz

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle MarinersJul 5, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) pitches to the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Kochanowicz is scheduled make his major league debut on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels when they open a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

Kochanowicz, a 6-foot-7 right-hander, will be called up from Double-A Rocket City, where the 23-year-old was 5-6 with 4.55 ERA in 16 starts this season.

In his past nine starts, however, the 2019 third-round pick of the Angels had a 2.90 ERA. He also has thrown two complete games in his past three outings.

“I thought it was definitely in the cards,” Kochanowicz said of his call-up. “It was my first big-league camp this year, which was very, very exciting at the time, but just definitely thought it was possible.”

Angels manager Ron Washington would like to see Kochanowicz go as deep as possible after his bullpen combined for 17 innings in the past three games, allowing just three earned runs in that span.

Los Angeles relievers combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings in a 7-2 win against the visiting Texas Rangers on Wednesday evening, which ended a three-game skid.

Kochanowicz will face a stiff challenge against the Mariners, who lead the American League West by two games over the Houston Astros.

Seattle is coming off a two-game sweep against the San Diego Padres for its first series win in nearly a month.

The Mariners will try to make it three in a row when they give the ball to veteran right-hander Luis Castillo in the series opener.

Castillo (7-9, 3.72 ERA) is coming off his best start in more than a month, holding the Toronto Blue Jays to one run and two hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 2-1 win on Friday, which was also his 200th major league start.

He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Blue Jays before giving up a leadoff solo home run.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said Castillo made an adjustment with his slider, trimming the speed from 87-88 mph to 82-83, and that seemed to throw off the Toronto hitters.

“That was just an awesome outing,” Servais said. “He was on top of his game.”

Castillo had gone 0-2 in his previous three starts with a 7.04 ERA.

Castillo said through a translator that he worked with pitching coach Pete Woodworth the day before his most recent start and he recommended a different grip on his slider.

“I did it, I threw it, I threw it (Friday) and it gave us results. I think I liked it,” he said. “It helps a lot.”

Castillo is 4-1 in seven career starts against the Angels with a 3.30 ERA.

Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is set to play his third game since missing 69 with a torn hamstring, is 4-for-9 in his career against Castillo with two home runs.

Angels second-year shortstop Zach Neto is just 1-for-7 off Castillo, but he might be the hottest player in the Los Angeles lineup.

After sitting out Monday’s game against the Rangers, Neto is 5-for-8 in the past two games with a homer and three RBIs.

He started the month on a 3-for-23 slide.

“We’ve still got to get with him to keep himself from getting inside of himself,” Washington said of Neto. “This is the most baseball he’s ever played, and he’s never failed, and I keep trying to tell him, he’s not failing, he’s just dealing with adversity.”

–Field Level Media