The World Series is finally upon us. Just as everyone predicted, the Ronald Acuña Jr.-less Braves will visit Houston for Game 1. Here’s how to approach the World Series opener via DraftKings Sportsbook.
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As much as the two offenses featured in the World Series have plenty of pop, both Game 1 starting pitchers are coming off strong starts against two other fairly strong offenses. Plus, Charlie Morton and Framber Valdez aren’t exactly scrubs.
While the Red Sox bats went quiet late in the ALCS, there’s no discrediting Valdez’s Game 5 start. Now, the Braves did do considerable damage against Julio Urías in the NLCS, but they hadn’t previously hit left-handed pitching well throughout the majority of 2021, outside of ranking fourth in ISO against lefties. And Valdez is a pitcher Atlanta’s lineup has seen very little of, which plays to his favor.
That’s a little different with Morton and the Astros, who were as tough as any team on right-handed pitching this season. José Altuve has hit Morton well throughout his career, but the second baseman isn’t exactly hitting his best at the moment. Also, we did see Red Sox pitching limit Houston’s scoring to one run through the first five innings in four of the six ALCS games, including the Astros’ nine-run night in Game 4 and 12-run explosion in Game 5.
Houston’s No. 4 hitter did some damage vs. Red Sox pitching throughout the entire ALCS, but he really found his groove in the latter half of what turned out to be a six-game series. Not only did Alvarez have multiple hits in each of those games, but he also hit for serious power in the last two games of the ALCS — a double and home run in Game 5 then two doubles and a triple in Game 6.
Alvarez actually hit a little better on the road than at Minute Maid Park this season, but he still had plenty of success at home. Fifteen of his 33 homers came at home, along with 17 of his 35 doubles, posting a .233 ISO and .359 wOBA in Houston this season. And while I don’t expect him to catapult Morton from the game early, Alvarez did hit right-handers hard throughout 2021 (.368 wOBA and .256 ISO against righties).
The Astros slugged their way to the World Series, but now they face an opponent that’s relied most heavily on its pitching staff to get to this stage. As much as we also saw offense carry Boston further than some expected, the ALCS was another reminder pitching is the difference in the postseason.
While Atlanta’s bullpen put up a 4.76 ERA in the NLCS, hits 3.80 FIP indicates improved results are on the horizon. Even still, the trio of A.J. Minter, Will Smith and Tyler Matzek are what really matters at this stage. If Morton can get through six frames, that group is going to give Houston an extended headache. Matzek was the only one of that bunch to surrender any earned runs in the NLCS, giving up two solo home runs in six innings of work.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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