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We have Game 6 of the World Series, with the Houston Astros looking to force a Game 7. The first pitch is at 8:09 p.m. ET tonight.
We will have Max Fried on the hill for the Atlanta Braves and Luis Garcia on short rest for the Houston Astros. The Astros are currently -125 favorites for the game.
The pitching has been difficult to handicap in this series. Games 3 and 4 were low-scoring affairs, but Game 5 returned to an easy cashing for the over.
Our Lineup Optimizer suggests using both pitchers on DraftKings, as it has for the majority of the series. Appropriately, Fried is priced higher than Garcia. There are a lot of question marks as to what Garcia can do on the short rest.
Garcia did make an appearance on three days rest in the regular season. It was all the way back on April 29th, but he had only thrown 29 pitches in a relief outing on April 25th. For what it is worth, he went five innings giving up one earned run in that game against the Seattle Mariners.
I would think that Garcia falls into a pitch count of 50-65 for tonight, which will hamstring the amount of success that he can have. It will be very difficult for him to complete five innings. The one benefit he has is the Braves are more likely to strike out than the Astros.
If you are going to play just one starter, I think that makes Fried the more likely option.
Fried has looked shaky his last two times out in the postseason. He gave up six earned runs in Game 2 of the World Series, and five earned runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers before that. I do like that he has given up only three walks in 21 2/3 innings this postseason.
It was the second inning that cost Fried in Game 2, but a lot of it was built off of softer contact. The Astros managed five hits in the inning, while the Braves had an error and a wild pitch. One hit was an infield single, and another was a blooper by Martin Maldonado. If that inning does not happen, the whole game and series may look different.
Against a difficult-to-strikeout team, Fried still managed six strikeouts in his last start.
I think Alex Bregman had some much better swings in Game 5. I am not sure if that helps him climb back up in the lineup for Dusty Baker or not, but I think it could bode well for his success tonight. He is significantly better against left-handed pitching – hitting .300 with a .839 OPS this year.
Freddie Freeman is a better play on FanDuel than DraftKings. He has a hit in every game in this series and hit a home run in Game 5. He has been arguably the most consistent bat for these Braves throughout the postseason and is sitting at an OPS of .973. He had a single off of Garcia in Game 3.
I like the way Jorge Soler has hit in this World Series. Going into Game 5, many were recommending that he should be the favorite for World Series MVP. He has five hits in this series, with two key home runs. The most impressive thing is he has had fewer at-bats than most as he was losing playing time when the Braves were at home. He should not be worried about getting pinch-hit for in the American League ballpark and could really end up being a value play.
Wash, rinse, repeat, and plug in Michael Brantley. He is the top play for FanDuel. After a great start to this World Series, he has cooled a bit, too. He still has six hits in this series to go along with three walks. He is hitting .308 in the playoffs (basically exactly what he hit in the regular season at .311). Left-handers do hinder him quite a bit, but he had one of those singles in the 2nd inning against Fried.
Yuli Gurriel was the main benefactor in the struggles that Bregman has had in this series, as he moved up in the order. His price still seems rather low to me. He responded with three hits in Game 5, for a total of six on the series. He, too, recorded a single in that 2nd inning in Game 2 and gets a big boon from hitting against left-handed pitching. This season his average was .326 against lefties with an OPS of .925. Eight of his 15 home runs came against left-handers in about half as many at-bats.
The play of the day for DraftKings is Eddie Rosario. Rosario has cooled from his red-hot NLCS, but he has still reached base twice in four out of five World Series games. He worked a walk-off of Garcia in Game 3. He should slot back into the leadoff role tonight. His pricing seems way off on DraftKings.
I’d continue to try to avoid Maldonado. You might have to more or less play him on DraftKings if you go with both starters, but I think I would rather punt with Chas McCormick. Even in the non-National League ballpark, Maldonado might not see a full game’s worth of at-bats.
This will be my last article of the 2021 season. It has been a blast. Thanks for reading all, and let’s enjoy what could be the last Major League Baseball action until pitchers and catchers report.