First pitch: 2:08 p.m. ET
Venue: Minute Maid Park
Probable pitchers: Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 3.00 ERA) vs. Max Fried (7-0, 2.25 ERA)
Miami Marlins vs. Atlanta Braves Predictions
Two of my top-three sleepers (and both big Zylbert Guys) going into last season suddenly find themselves opposite one another in a Major League playoff game.
Max Fried followed his breakout campaign of 2019 with an equally-as-eye-opening one this season, even having a legitimate chance at this year’s National League Cy Young Award. In his first career playoff start last week, he shined and kept up with Cy Young frontrunner Trevor Bauer in dealing seven beautiful shutout innings.
There was some concern related to Fried’s back ailment that limited the left-hander to a mere six innings dating back to Sept. 8. However, Fried comfortably (outside of the top of the first) expressed he’s back to full health with his excellent performance.
Facing a lineup that is far less scary — and it isn’t that scary to begin with — without Starling Marte and Jorge Alfaro, I like entrusting Fried to keep surging. This is a genuine frontline pitcher still evolving.
The other starter, Sandy Alcantara, also had his first-ever playoff start (let alone first postseason appearance) last week; on the same day, too. That was Wednesday, when he further silenced the cardboard cutouts at Wrigley Field with a terrific October debut that saw him navigate into the seventh while allowing a single run in downing the Chicago Cubs.
It was actually Alcantara’s sixth consecutive quality start going back more than a month, so it’s evident that the former St. Louis Cardinals farmhand couldn’t be any hotter at this present time.
Atlanta definitely boasts one of the more dangerous offenses in all of baseball but it’s one Alcantara has handled nicely, albeit in a smaller sample size. He’s received the nod three times for an assignment with the Braves and crafted a 2.41 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in those starts. In the process, Alcantara limited them collectively to a pretty meek .176 average.
Both guys are capable of going deep into the ballgame, and with two above-average late-inning relief cores waiting in the wings, a low-scoring affair looks good.
Bet: UNDER 8 (+100)
SD/LAD Under 8.5
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*:
Regular season: “19-42-4,” -28.91 units
Postseason: 4-1, +1.95 units
Last Result: Yankees-Rays Under 7 (“loss”)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (postseason 0.5 unit except first one)