Now that the offensive onslaught is out of the way, and the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros sent Game 1 over the posted total, led by a shellacking of Gerrit Cole, let's gear up for some quality pitching.
I want you playing Game 2 under the posted number.
Since every MLB wager on a run line or total auto-lists pitchers, I want you to be sure the two pitchers on your ticket, when making this play, are Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander. If they are not the pitchers of record when making your play, disregard this play.
Let's start with who will be a fired up Strasburg, who will most certainly feed off last night's Game 1 victory, and will be on top of his game in looking to send the series back to D.C. with his team ahead by two games.
The fiery right-hander, who was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA during the regular season, has a 1.64 ERA this postseason, with 33 strikeouts vs. just one walk. Strasburg's 1.10 career playoff ERA is the third-lowest mark all-time among pitchers with at least five postseason starts, behind only Sandy Koufax (0.95) and Christy Mathewson (1.06).
His career numbers against the Astros tell me he'll be plenty confident at Minute Maid Park, as he's 1-0 in three starts with a 1.80 ERA and a very strong .933 WHIP. The Astros are hitting just .218 against Strasburg, while he has a 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, having struck out 16 and walking two.
In his lone appearance at Minute Maid, the Astros are hitting just .150 against Strasburg, who took a no-decision in that game. And in 22 Interleague starts, he is 12-3 with a 3.14 ERA.
I would love to think he can dominate and defeat the Astros - and he can - but I'm not ready to side against Verlander.
Not when the veteran right-hander is needed more than ever, and should have his arsenal working for thie one. True, Verlander's postseason has been an up-and-down one - more than Astros fans would have liked - than you might expect, as he's 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in four starts.
In two starts against the Nationals, he is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA, and in 50 Interleague starts, Verlander is 34-8 with a 2.81 ERA. He has the experience and wherewithal to silence even Washington's red-hot lineup, which has led the postseason offensively.
This one will be about the pitchers. Play it low.