Saturday brings us an exciting pair of games in the Champion series of the AL and NL. The Nationals got out to a 1-0 lead in St. Louis, and the Cardinals will be desperate to bounce back in Game 2. Meanwhile a blockbuster series kicks off in Houston, between the Yankees and Astros. In what should primarily be a series of Houston’s pitching against the Yankees’ hitting can the Yankees get out of the blocks quickly against the Astros’ third-choice pitcher?
Here are Today’s MLB Picks:
1u – Under 7 Total Runs @ +104
1u – Under 2.5 Runs in the First Three Innings @ -140
- Per statschecker, the under is 46-37-4 in Cardinals home games
- Adam Wainwright has a 2.56 ERA at home this season, and Max Scherzer has a 2.64 ERA on the road.
Scherzer has now won his first playoff game in eight attempts after his stunning performance last time out against the Dodgers. Since the first innings of the wildcard game he has allowed just one earned run in the following 12 innings, suggesting he is back on track somewhat. Equally Wainwright was superb in his first start of the playoffs against the Braves. Wainwright has also been supreme at home this season, which when combined with the numbers for Scherzer on the road would suggest this has the making of another tight game in St. Louis.
Wainwright and Scherzer both have an ERA below three the first time through the order as well, meaning they allow less than a run in the first three innings on average. Expect these two veteran pitchers to keep this game quiet through those early innings once again in this start.
1u – Houston Astros Over 4.5 Runs @ -118
- Masahiro Tanaka has a 6.05 ERA on the road this season
- Tanaka also has a 5.26 ERA in the second half of the season, including a 4.32 ERA in September
The Houston Astros offense was good at home in the series against the Rays, scoring 15 runs across the three games, including getting to six runs twice. Tanaka’s second half and road numbers this season suggest this should be a game that the Astros jump on early and try to get ahead of a fantastic Yankees lineup.
1u – Over 9 Total Runs @ -105
- Zack Greinke allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first playoff start this season
- The New York Yankees averaged over seven runs per game against the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, including scoring five runs in Minnesota
I have already made the case for the Astros to score five or more and I feel like this game could be a high scoring one. Greinke had some struggles down the stretch, including his first playoff start, and has allowed four earned runs or more in four of his last seven starts. With Verlander and Cole potentially due on the mound in Games 2 & 3 of the series the Yankees need to strike now and get a lead in this series before they face the Astro’s two aces.
By Ben Rolfe