Houston Astros (107-55) at Washington Nationals (93-69)
MLB: Sunday, October 27th, 2019 at 8:07 pm ET (Nationals Park)
Line and Odds: Houston Astros -149/Washington Nationals +134 Over/Under: 7
Free ESPN MLB Picks Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros
It looks like the Houston Astros’ bats have come alive in Washington. After averaging 3 runs per outing in the first 3 World Series games, Houston broke out for a 8-1 win in Game 4. The driving force behind the offensive explosion was Alex Bregman. The 25-year-old third basemen entered the game on a slump where he went 1 for 13 in the World Series’ previous games. In Game 4, Bregman emerged as the best hitter in the lineup for the Astros. Bregman was the first and last Astro to put runs on the board. He singled in the 1st inning to drive in Jose Altuve for a 1-0 lead and hit a 392-foot grand slam to extend Houston’s 4-1 lead to an insurmountable 8-1 score. Bregman finished with 3 hits and 5 RBI in 5 at-bats on the night.
This Houston offense more closely resembles the regular season offense that led the MLB in so many batting categories. Houston opened up the game by hitting 4 consecutive singles with 1 out in the 1st inning. Those 4 singles created a 2-0 advantage that set the tone for the rest of the game. Robinson Chirinos added to the lead with a 2-run 404-foot home run in the top of the 4th inning. This was Chirinos’ 2nd home run of the series, to go along with the one he hit on Friday. In each of the last 3 games, Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley have recorded multiple hits. It looks as if the Astros’ batters have found a groove against the Nationals’ pitchers.
Game 5’s starting pitcher for the Houston Astros will be Gerrit Cole. The Cy Young favorite has been stellar in both the regular season and the playoffs, with the exception of Game 1 of this World Series. Cole led the MLB in categories such as strikeout percentage (39.9%), ERA+ (185), and strikeouts per 9 innings (13.8). He led the American League in ERA (2.50) and FIP (2.64). Cole went 20-5 on 33 starts for the Astros. He had a 0.895 WHIP and 6.79 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He allowed 6.0 hits, 1.2 home runs, and 2.80 runs per 9 innings. However, the Nationals were able to get to Cole in Game 1 of the World Series. Cole gave up 5 earned runs, 8 hits, and 1 walk in 7 innings.
On the flip side of this series, the Washington Nationals have gone ice-cold. In the two World Series games hosted by Washington, they’ve scored a total of 2 runs. The Nationals have scored 1 run in each of their last 2 games. It’s been an odd series of events because Washington hasn’t had much trouble with the two aces of the Astros’ staff, Cole and Verlander. In Game 1, the Nationals were able to get 5 runs off of Cole. In Game 2, Washington tagged Verlander for 4 runs in 6 innings. In fact, both of those games were played at Minute Maid Park in Houston. They scored a combined 18 runs in their first 2 World Series games. Once the series shifted to the nation’s capital, the trajectory of the World Series completely changed.
In Game 3, the Nationals were able to knock out Zack Greinke before he got through 5 innings. However, the Nationals’ actual run production wasn’t there. Greinke went 4 and 2/3 innings and Washington could only muster 1 earned run off of him. The Astros’ bullpen took over for the 2nd part of the game and Washington was unable to take advantage. 5 Houston relievers combined for 4 and 1/3 innings of shutout ball. Greinke gave up 7 hits, and 3 walks, but only 1 run. The bullpen was even stingier, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, and 0 runs. Game 4 told a similar story. Houston’s opener, Jose Urquidy, unexpectedly went 5 innings because the Nationals hitters couldn’t get to him. He pitched 5 innings and didn’t give up a run. Urquidy’s assortment of pitches really caught the Nationals off-guard. They had a more difficult time dealing with Urquidy than they did with Cole, Verlander and Greinke. Washington’s bats have gone 1 for 19 with RISP in the past 2 games. They will have to get it turned around if they want to go to Houston with a 3-2 lead.
Today’s starter for the Nationals will be Max Scherzer. Scherzer will be asked to stop the bleeding and get the momentum back on their side. The 3-time Cy Young winner had another strong year. He had a 2.92 ERA and a MLB-best 2.45 FIP. Scherzer also led the MLB with a 7.36 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He averaged 12.7 strikeouts per 9 innings (an NL best) and had a 1.027 WHIP. Scherzer gives up 7.5 hits, 0.9 home runs, and 3.08 runs per 9 innings.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Houston’s last 5 games.
Houston is 12-6 SU in their last 18 games.
Houston is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games on the road.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Washington’s last 6 games.
Washington is 16-4 SU in their last 20 games.
Washington is 13-3 SU in their last 16 games at home.
ESPN MLB Scores Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals
I like the Over 7 at -110 in this matchup. It can certainly be intimidating betting an Over with Cole and Scherzer on the mound, but I think there’s value here. In Game 1 of this series, the Nationals were able to take 5 runs off of Gerrit Cole. I was impressed with the way the Nationals managed to hit Cole’s high fastball. We saw a little bit of slippage from Cole’s A+ form when he took on the Yankees in the ALCS. New York was able to hit Cole hard, but they simply failed to cash in when they needed to. We could see that Cole wasn’t invincible. On the other side, I believe that the Nationals’ potential loss of catcher Kurt Suzuki will hurt them here. Suzuki has a hip flexor injury, so he will probably be throwing to catcher Yan Gomes. With Suzuki behind the plate, Scherzer has a 2.08 ERA in 16 starts this season. With Gomes behind the plate, Scherzer has a 4.09 ERA in 12 starts this season. The Nationals don’t have a strong bullpen behind their starters. Washington’s bullpen ranks 29th in ERA and 26th in FIP. We know that these are two of the most high powered offenses in baseball. I like the Over here.