Both of the Championship Series are now underway, with today’s slate offering up a game in each league with lock at 6:05 p.m. ET.
Braves at Dodgers (-138)
Weather: 64 degrees, 0% precipitation, 4 MPH wind blowing in
In the first game played in front of fans last night, the Braves shocked the Dodgers with a big ninth inning.
After an early afternoon scratch, the Dodgers will turn to Tony Gonsolin. This is a big spot for the rookie to try to fill the shoes of perennial ace Clayton Kershaw.
The Bales Model still rates Gonsolin as their favorite play. He becomes a much cheaper option than Kershaw, as he is $7,900 compared to Kershaw’s initial $10,000.
This does open up the other pitching options, as I do not think it is as clear cut to go with Gonsolin as it was to go with Kershaw. Gonsolin is still the top option in cash games.
Ian Anderson ($9,400) has been amazing in his rookie campaign. He is the Bales Model’s least favorite pitcher today and that has more to do with the Dodgers offense than his abilities.
They say you cannot keep a good dog down for long, and that is probably the theory that many will prescribe to tonight with the Dodgers’ offense.
The Braves only allowed four hits to the Dodgers with two walks. It was a splendid start by Max Fried, but will be tough to repeat by Anderson tonight.
At $9,400, Anderson becomes the resounding highest-priced pitcher on the slate. With the Dodgers switching from Kershaw to Gonsolin, the Braves have a better chance at winning this game — meaning that Anderson has a better chance at earning the win.
I still think he is awfully risky — a GPP play only for me.
Rays (-109) at Astros
Weather: 68 degrees, 1% precipitation, 5 MPH wind blowing in from right
This has been a wild series so far, and feels more like a 1-1 series than a 2-0 advantage for the Rays. That can be reflected in Vegas seeing this as essentially a pick ’em.
The Astros have just been unable to get a big hit so far in this series. They went 1-8 yesterday with runners in scoring position, and the one hit did not even plate a run.
The Rays will serve as the away team now and will turn to Ryan Yarbrough ($7,000). Yarbrough took the loss in Game 4 against the New York Yankees as he only threw 65 pitches. I’m not really convinced that Yarbrough has enough of a leash or is built back up enough to get all that close to 100 pitches.
The Rays utilized more of their bullpen than the Astros did on Tuesday, but were able to leave Diego Castillo in their “stable of arms.” Ryan Thompson and Aaron Loup are the two bullpen arms that they have used in both ALCS games.
That means Kevin Cash still has Castillo, Peter Fairbanks, John Curtiss and Nick Anderson to turn to in his bullpen.
Yarbrough is looking at five innings in his best case scenario and to top it all off he only had one strikeout against the Yankees last time out. I think you have to fade him tonight.
I have liked turning to Jose Urquidy ($7,700) at various times throughout the year. He has pitched very well albeit with limited strikeout upside
Tonight is essentially a do-or-die game for the Astros, as going down 3-0 does not bode well. I think that means that Urquidy has a short leash. In two postseason starts, he has gone exactly 4 1/3 innings in both. The Oakland Athletics tagged him for four solo home run shots last time out.
Urquidy has enduced 23 flyballs to 5 groundballs in the playoffs, hence the four solo shots. That is flirting with disaster, especially with what we’ve seen in these playoffs.
The best case for Urquidy is that the Astros start cashing in their immense opportunities and get out to an early lead. That would allow Dusty Baker to let Urquidy have a bit more of a leash.
Similarly to the model, I think Urquidy is my second favorite pitcher on the slate. With Gonsolin coming in for Kershaw, Urquidy becomes a slightly better option than he initially was.
The best stack actually surprised me for once, as it belongs to the Astros.
- 2. Jose Altuve (R)
- 4. Alex Bregman (R)
- 3. Michael Brantley (L)
- 1. George Springer (R)
This group of four will cost $14,600 on FanDuel and is projected for 45.7 FanDuel points.
I am surprised that this top stack did not belong to the Dodgers. As I wrote up in their game preview, the Astros have to start cashing in on their chances at some point. It is unsustainable how many men the Rays have stranded in their first two games. Bregman specifically went 0-for-5 yesterday, but stun every single ball.
Even if the baseball gods are against them for their wrongdoings, I do not think the Astros ride quietly into the night.
Ignoring Randy Arozarena comes at your own peril at this point. He is the hottest hitter on the Rays and while he did not hit a moonshot yesterday, he still collected two hits. His price is reflecting how hot he is, but he is currently an incredibly tough out.
The highest-rated hitter on the Bales Model is Austin Meadows and I do not think you can feel comfortable putting him in a lineup. Ever since coming back from injury, something has not been right with Meadows at the plate. It has driven his price down ($700 cheaper than beginning of the season) even with him staying at the top of the Rays’ lineup. I’d keep him out until he shows me something.
A hitter that has been a little “hidden” in the Astros’ lineup is Yuli Gurriel. He had a nice game yesterday afternoon with two hits, a run, and a hit-by-pitch. He is 1-for-2 with a round-tripper lifetime off of Yarbrough. He makes for an interesting pivot, as he may not be as highly owned as the top flight hitters.
I would also keep targeting the cheaper Dodgers hitters as a great way to get exposure to their lineup. Will Smith has been a favorite all season and its tough to know who will start between Kike Hernandez or Chris Taylor, but Hernandez just showed last night that he can payoff at a low price.