Expert Baseball Picks
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Most signs point toward Los Angeles here, and the line on this game reflects that. But Texas is off to the much better start, and hot-vs.-cold always means something when handicapping baseball. So we're going with the value here and the Rangers.
Wednesday's pitching match-up looks pretty even, but we give St. Louis short edges with the sticks and in the bullpen. So we're taking the underdog price with the Cardinals for our free MLB pick here.
Tampa has won four games in a row, while Colorado has lost three straight, so this game sets up as a double play on the MLB streak betting theory. However, we don't always abide by that method. Snell may bounce back after his iffy effort last week but "Cy Young" often brings with it inflated prices. And we won't usually get Freeland at such an excellent underdog price. We're going with the value here and betting the Rockies.
The Red Sox have gotten off to a great start in this series winning the first two games at home and are riding a six-game win streak. In the five home games for L.A, in this post-season, they only gave up seven runs, and four of those came in the one loss with Buehler on the hill in that game giving up all four runs. That said, on the season Buehler has been brilliant at home with a 2.20 ERA and excellent 0.84 WHIP. Porcello did not have the sharpest of last outings but got a lot of help from the lineup in the 8-6 win. The Boston starter lasted just five innings and hadn't completed six or more innings in his last nine outings. The Boston bullpen has been ultra-sharp allowing one earned run in the first two games, but they have worked eight innings and may start to show some cracks if they have to come in early for Porcello.
The Red Sox have won five in a row and have to feel good about their Game 1 win knocking around Dodgers’ Ace Clayton Kershaw. Andrew Benintendi had four hits in the game, J.D. Martinez had two RBI, and pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run HR. Boston's offense led the Majors in runs scored, and they have been getting it done at the dish in their five-game win streak. Price was lights out in his previous game, finally getting his first playoff win and I expect him to win the battle of the starters tonight. I'll lay the money.
The Dodgers are in the World Series for the second straight year and are looking for their first title since 1988. On the other side of the coin, the Red Sox are gunning for their 4th World Series title in the last 15 years. These teams have met once in the World Series way back in 1916 where the Red Sox beat the Dodgers. The Red Sox are rested for this series after taking down the Astros in five games in the ALCS while the Dodgers were taken to seven games in the NLCS. Manny Machado and Max Muncy have combined for five HR in the playoffs and Machado is batting .250 and Muncy is only batting .182 in the post-season.
Boston’s Mookie Betts led the Majors this season with a .346 average and also had 32 HR and 80 RBI, but in the playoffs, he is only batting .205 and has not gone “yard”. This Game 1 is a great pitching matchup between a couple of staff Aces and Kershaw has been great in two of his post-season starts and Sale has been decent in his two outings. That trend will continue in this game, which is sure to be a low scoring affair. I expect Kershaw to out-duel Sale, and the L.A. bullpen will do the rest. The Dodgers will take a close Game 1 in Boston and get home field advantage for the series in the process.
The Brewers are back home where the split the first two games of this series with the Dodgers. This game has the same pitching matchup as Game 2, and while Miley had the better start, the Dodgers got the win getting to their bullpen. Miley has not given up any earned runs in the playoffs so far, and I expect him to have another good outing in this game. Game 6 will be another low scoring game, but this time the Brewers bullpen will be up to the task to force a Game 7.
The Red Sox tied up this series with their win in Game 2, and they have a hot pitcher on the mound in Eovaldi. In his last six starts he has only allowed more than one earned run once and in that game, he gave up just two earned runs. On the other side of the coin Keuchel has given up six earned runs in his last three starts, but he isn’t getting deep in games failing to go past the 5th inning in any of his previous three outings. Keuchel had one start against the Red Sox this season and was not at his best getting tagged for five runs in seven frames of work at Fenway back in September. Additionally, the Astros have lost six of their last seven games at home with Keuchel on the hill facing a team with a winning record. Naturally, Boston fits that metric, who led the Majors in wins this season. I’m forecasting the Red Sox lineup will pick off where they left off in Game 2 scoring runs early, as they will get to Keuchel early and often. Eovaldi will continue his string of strong starts, and the Red Sox will take Game 3 in the Lone Star State and take back home field advantage in the series.
The Dodgers evened this series at 1-1 in their Game 2 win in Milwaukee and are now back in L.A. Where they have won five straight including their last four playoff games. The Dodgers scored all four of their runs in Game 2 off the Milwaukee bullpen, which had been great so far in the playoffs. Chacin has pitched well in his last few starts but was lit up in L.A. facing the Dodgers in his only outing facing them this season. On the other side of the coin, I expect Buehler will return to the excellent form that saw him rack up four consecutive starts. The line is big, so I'm going to take a shot on the run line in this one.
The Boston bullpen blew up in the loss to the Astros in Game 1 of this series giving up five of the seven runs. Don’t count on them taking the ball with a lead in this game with Price on the mound. He has not pitched well in the playoffs in his career and was not sharp in his last outing in the ALDS giving up three earned runs and failing to make it out of the 2nd inning. Price will be facing a Houston lineup that has scored 28 runs in their four playoff games. The Astros are rolling, and the defending World Series champions have outscored their opponents 28-8 in their four playoff wins. Cole was solid in his last start in the ALDS, and he will have another good outing in this game. The same cannot be said about Price, who I expect will be hit hard based on his playoff history. The Astros will win Game 2 and head back to Houston with a 2-0 lead in this series.
This series is a clear battle between pitching versus hitting with the Astros leading the MLB in ERA and the Red Sox on top of baseball in runs scored. So, it comes as no surprise that these teams two teams had the best records in baseball this season. We get on paper an excellent pitching matchup between a couple of Aces in this game with Verlander ranking 3rd in the AL in ERA and Sale who would have ranked a higher if he had met the innings pitched qualification. That said, Verlander comes into this game in better form and with the superior historical numbers versus the opponent's projected starters. Houston had the best road record in baseball in 2018, and I think we'll see why on Saturday.
Kershaw has had issues in the playoffs in his career and did not end the regular season well giving up eight earned runs in his last two starts. However, he pitched like the Ace he is in Game 2 of the NLDS tossing eight scoreless innings in L.A.'s shutout win. He will be facing a Milwaukee team that is smoking hot and winners of 11 in a row. The Brewers pitching has been great in the playoffs, and their bullpen has been lights out. Gonzalez was solid for the Brewers since coming to them in a late-season trade, but he has not pitched since September 30th. The Dodgers will get to him for a few runs, and that is all the support Kershaw will need. He will have another great outing in these playoffs taming the Milwaukee bats. The Dodgers will get the win in this Game 1 snapping the Brewers 11-game winning streak.
The Indians are in a 2-0 hole in this series and while Clevinger did not pitch well in the two starts facing the Astros this season he finished the season strong allowing a combined three earned runs in his last three starts.. The Indians had the 3rd most hits in the Majors this season, but the bats have gone cold in this series with six hits with only one hit being for extra bases. Keuchel did not have the best ending to the season going 1-1 with an ERA of 5.76 in his last five starts, but won two games in the playoffs last season and in 2015. The lack of hits on the road aside I still expect that the Cleveland bats will wake up and the Indians will avoid the sweep tonight.
The Yankees have home field advantage in this series after their Game 2 win against Boston and Severino had a great start facing them late in the season. The Red Sox was the highest scoring team in the Majors this season, but they have only totaled seven runs in the first two games of this series. Eovaldi pitched well at the end of the season, and has a solid history against the Yankees. That said, Judge has been on fire and Gary Sanchez had two HR in the Game 2 win and while I believe that both pithers can have good starts, the current form of the Yankees bats has me laying the lumber in this game.
The Braves have their backs against the wall, and while they have lost their last four games, overall, they have won their last five home games. Still, they go with Newcomb in this game and Atlanta has lost his previous four home starts. The Braves decided to start Newcomb because he is a lefty, but the Dodgers have won 35 of their last 52 road games facing a left-hand starter. Buehler was lights out in his last start in the NL West tiebreaker game, and he has not given up any earned runs in three of his previous four starts. Still, taking the Braves in this one at home. Newcomb has not given up any earned runs in his last three appearances, including one start, where he totaled seven 2/3 innings, and he also flirted with a no-hitter the last time he faced the Dodgers. I expect him to have a solid outing in this game and the Braves may not light up Buehler but should get enough to get their first win.
The Red Sox bullpen was a little shaky giving up two runs, but they prevailed to take a 1-0 lead in this series. Both Tanaka and Price have not been in top form over their last couple of starts so the total might be worth a few bucks. That said I expect Price to have the worst outing with his pitching history. Price is 0-8 in nine career playoff starts and this season facing the Yankees he was 0-3 in four starts where he had a bloated 10.34 ERA. New York will take this game in Boston, and even the series and have the home-field advantage heading home for Game 3.
The Astros begin their quest to repeat as World Series champions hosting the Cleveland Indians. The Astros had the 2nd most wins in the Majors, and they led the bigs in team ERA. Verlander got over his August struggles, 5.29 ERA in six starts, by going 3-0 with an ERA of only 1.09 in five September starts. He will oppose Cleveland Ace Kluber, who pitched well in the two starts facing Houston this season. The Tribe easily won the weak AL Central this season and did have 91 wins, but they were eight games under .500 (23-31) facing teams with a winning record. Look for that trend to continue in this game. Verlander will have another great outing while Kluber will just be decent and facing the Astros in Houston decent will not cut it. The Astros will take the first game of this series to take a 1-0 lead in the ALDS.
A great pitching matchup in this Game 1 of the NDLS with two starters that have been solid lately and for the season. Ryu has only given up one earned run in his last three starts, and Foltynewicz has allowed three earned runs in his previous two outings. Foltynewicz did not have the best outing of the season facing the Dodgers, but he will have a good start in this game. Ryu will have a good outing as well, and this game may come down to which bullpen can get it done. The Dodgers have the edge in that aspect, as their bullpen ranked 8th in the Majors in ERA and the Braves ranked 17th. The last time the Braves made the playoffs, it was back in 2013 where they faced the Dodgers in the NLDS and lost in four games.
L.A. manager Dave Roberts pushed Ace Clayton Kershaw’s start to Game 2 of this series to start Ryu in Game 1. Atlanta knows they have a lot of pressure to win Game 1 facing the Dodgers Ace in Game 2 even though Kershaw’s post-season struggles are well documented. While the head-to-head trends and the oddsmakers have the Dodgers as the pick in this game, I am taking the Braves. They were a surprise playoff team this season, and they have much less pressure on them in this series facing a Dodgers' team that has a ton of pressure to bring a World Series title back to La La Land. The Braves will play loose, and in a low scoring affair they will win and take a 1-0 series lead.