The Braves have already put pressure on the Astros, which should alter Houston’s approach on Wednesday. Here’s how to attack Game 2 of the World Series via DraftKings Sportsbook.
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Max Fried and the trio of A.J. Minter, Will Smith and Tyler Matzek make for a tough matchup for any lineup. But, we did see Fried hiccup in the NLCS when the Dodgers got to him for five runs on eight hits, two of which were homers, over 4 2/3 innings in Game 5. Even in his strong NLCS Game 1 start, L.A. got to him for a couple runs. While the Dodgers have a potent lineup and hit lefties well throughout 2021, Houston’s lineup is in better form. Not to mention, the Astros were superior to the Dodgers in OPS, wOBA and wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season — in fairness, Houston was better than most teams against lefties (top four in those three categories and fifth in ISO).
All that said, there’s no doubt in my mind Fried will have a better line than José Urquidy at the end of this one. Houston’s Game 2 starter has only made one appearance in the postseason, and things didn’t exactly go well for the right-hander in that ALCS contest vs. Boston. Of course, the Red Sox were one of the two or three best teams against right-handed pitching this season. But Atlanta’s lineup wasn’t a cakewalk for righties either. The Braves were top eight in OPS, wOBA and ISO against right-handed pitching for the entire season. Even when you strictly look at their numbers post-Ronald Acuña Jr.’s injury, the Braves remained one of the best lineups against righties.
Put simply, if Urquidy gives up three runs in the first two innings like Framber Valdez did in Game 1, Houston’s Game 2 starter isn’t coming back out for an attempt at a third inning like the left-hander did on Tuesday. And Atlanta could get on Urquidy that quickly.
We know the Braves hit right-handed pitching well, but there’s also the matter of Houston absolutely needing this win. Losing two at home would almost certainly mark the end of this series for the Astros with things moving to Atlanta for three contests following Game 2. If things go sideways for even a little bit — and they will — Dusty Baker will get on the horn.
The over/under on this pick originally opened at 11.5 outs recorded. I still like the under on that total if it drops down again.
Fried should last longer than Urquidy in Game 2, which naturally plays into Houston’s right-hander allowing fewer walks. But Fried flat out hasn’t walked guys since the All-Star break. His second start of the NLCS marked the end of a four-game stretch in which he didn’t walk a single batter. Fried tossed 28 innings during that span. Including his three postseason starts, Atlanta’s left-hander has walked one or no batters in 11 of his 17 starts since the All-Star break. Houston also didn’t have a particularly impressive walk rate against left-handed pitching this season, ranking 14th at 8.8%.
Meanwhile, Urquidy just walked two in 1 2/3 innings vs. the Red Sox, who had an 8.3% walk rate against right-handers this season (tied for 18th in all of baseball). The Braves didn’t walk much more against righties than Boston, posting a 9.1% walk rate, but this is more about Urquidy than Atlanta’s lineup. Those 1 2/3 innings vs. the Red Sox are the only ones he’s thrown this postseason. He’s not getting his usual reps in, so his stuff isn’t going to be as consistent.
Eddie Rosario is also a strong option to go over 1.5 total bases (+100), but Alvarez presents a better payout. And he’s just as likely to go over 1.5 total bases as his fellow 2021 CS MVP.
Alvarez is one of the best hitters in this game, both overall and recently. He has 1.343 OPS in the postseason, and six of his eight extra-base hits have come in Houston’s last three games. While the lefty-on-lefty matchup may give reason for pause, don’t forget Alvarez posted a higher OPS against left-handed pitching this season. He also rocked a .249 ISO against lefties throughout 2021.
Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $300K Game 2 Extravaganza [$100K to 1st] (ATL vs HOU)
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