MLB schedule today has 1 game
Will we get a decisive Game 7 or does the ALCS end tonight? That is the question as we’ll see a rematch of Game 2 between Nathan Eovaldi and Framber Valdez. The NLCS takes a break for a travel day, as the Phillies head back home in hopes of closing out the series tomorrow night in front of a crazy crowd at Citizens Bank Park.
But, tonight is all about the Rangers and Astros and let’s break it down.
VSiN Daily Baseball Bets will be out shortly.
Here are some thoughts on the October 22 card (odds from DraftKings):
(odds as of 9:15 a.m. PT)
Valdez has been the weak link of the Astros throughout the postseason, but the ball will be in his hands for the first pitch of Game 1. Valdez has made two starts and both have been poor, as he has allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in just seven innings of work. The left-hander allowed five runs in each game, lasting just 2.2 innings in his G2 start in this series. He does have 11 strikeouts, but it’s been more about a lack of command.
I can’t say I’ve been surprised by the lack of command from Valdez. While his full-season numbers were largely fine with a 3.45 ERA, 4.33 xERA, and a 3.50 FIP, he did struggle badly in the second half, posting a 4.66 ERA in his final 87 innings. As I’ve talked about at length, he had 16 no-hit innings in the second half, so he allowed 45 earned runs and 75 hits in his other 71 innings of work. That would be a 5.70 ERA in his starts other than the August 1 no-hitter against Cleveland and the seven no-hit frames against the Tigers on August 25.
He had a couple decent starts here and there, though he did allow 10 runs on nine hits in his final 9.1 innings heading into the postseason. The Rangers were about a league average offense against southpaws during the regular season, but they stepped up in that spot and will hope to do so again here.
The pressure is on Eovaldi and the Rangers with the 3-2 deficit, though, so we’ll see if they come out tight or not. They’ve felt a little tight during this three-game losing streak, especially in late-game situations, where the bullpen has been very, very shaky. The Jose Leclerc blown save in Game 5 really hurt, but the Rangers also got some poor efforts from others.
They’ve gotten three outstanding efforts from Eovaldi in the postseason thus far. He’s allowed a total of five runs on 16 hits in 19.2 innings after struggling badly through the month of September. Eovaldi even allowed seven runs in 3.1 innings in his final playoff tune-up to cap off a month with a 9.30 ERA and a 7.88 FIP over 20.1 innings of work. Eovaldi came back from injury without a rehab assignment because there wasn’t enough time left in the season to do one and really got knocked around, yet he’s somehow found it here in the playoffs.
The Rangers scored four in the first against Valdez in Game 2 and it barely held up in the 5-4 win, as they failed to add on. Valdez gave up four singles in the inning and his throwing error also set the Rangers up with their first run. He had a single and a hit-by-pitch in the second and then gave up a homer and a walk in the third before getting pulled.
I want no part of the Texas bullpen, though they could catch a break in that Astros reliever Bryan Abreu was suspended two games for intentionally throwing at Adolis Garcia to lead to a bench-clearing fracas in Game 5.
So, the question here is whether or not I want to play the Rangers 1st 5 line at +100. I played it at -105 in Game 2 and it was a winner thanks to that 4-0 open. I feel like it’s worth another crack. While I do have a sneaking suspicion that Valdez could be better here, I haven’t seen anything that tells me that. What I have seen from Eovaldi in the playoffs is a 24/1 K/BB ratio and some really effective work. The Rangers won both games in Houston, so they should feel comfortable there from the jump, even if the stakes are as high as possible in this win-or-go-home game.
I’m okay with fading Valdez here and expecting a continuation of what we’ve seen. He’s not right and his body language on the bump in Game 2 looked really bad. He seems confused as to what’s happening and where it all went and I’m not sure this spotlight is the right time to fix it.
Pick: Rangers 1st 5 (+100)