I can still remember where I was when I saw that the Mariners had acquired Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds. I was playing Men's League Baseball, it was 95 and humid out, and I was sweating buckets. I grabbed some water in between innings and grabbed my phone to see if I had any baseball news. About 35 texts and a boatload of Twitter notifications sat there. Totally unexpected and amazing.
Here we are, just over a year later and lucky enough to enjoy watching someone of the caliber of Luis Castillo lead the Mariners pitching staff as they push for the playoffs. Castillo didn't get a punch out in the first inning, but came back in the second inning, with a lead nonetheless, and got his 200th K. Castillo would be stellar through 6, and make it through a little struggle in the 7th. He finished with 8 Ks, allowing just two runs and giving the bullpen a much-needed rest.
Today though, I want to focus on something that Castillo has finally been able to achieve now that he has been with the team for a full season. He had 77 Ks in 65.1 IP last season and easily would've gotten there if he pitched the full year with the Mariners. Now, he becomes the 8th pitcher and 22nd occurrence of an M's pitcher cracking the 200 K mark in a single season. He currently sits at 207 Ks.
Randy Johnson - 7 times - 308 in 1993
Felix Hernandez - 6 times - 248 in 2014
Mark Langston - 4 times - 262 in 1987
Robbie Ray - 1 time - 212 in 2022
Erik Hanson - 1 time - 211 in 1990
Floyd Bannister - 1 time - 209 in 1982
James Paxton - 1 time - 208 in 2018
Luis Castillo -1 time - 207 in 2023
Now, with Castillo joining that list, he still has a chance to climb even higher with two starts left, one vs. Houston and one vs. Texas. On season averages, he should get about 13, which would push him into the "Felix" range. Felix had seasons of 223, 222, 217, and 216, and holds spots 11-14 on the single-season list. Randy Johnson's mark of 228 in 1991 seems pretty far away. He does have a 2-start stretch with 20, so... maybe? Let's go 9 against Houston, and then 13 (!) against Texas to finish at 229.
After the start against Oakland, he now sits at 207 K's. Congratulations to Luis Castillo on joining the single-season 200 K club for the Mariners. Let's hope he makes another visit to the club next year.