Astros @ Dodgers World Series Game 7 Free Pick


I haven’t picked a baseball winner here since the ALDS (0–4 since) but it’s the World Series on November 1st and it’s the greatest two words in sports: Game Seven. Here it goes.

Free Pick

The Astros play was looking good last night. Rich Hill was out of the game in the fifth inning; Houston had the lead; and Justin Verlander was rolling.

Then he gave up a couple of baserunners, a bloop double to Chris Taylor and that was that. Joc Pederson‘s home run in the seventh inning pushed the World Series record to 24. With a game left, 30 isn’t out of the question.

No one is speculating it’s the baseballs anymore; we can all agree they have something to do with the crazy home run numbers. What some are speculating about is that those same balls are also more difficult to throw a slider with.

If that hypothesis is true, it could explain some of Yu Darvish‘s struggles in Game 3 when he didn’t make it out of the second inning. It may also worry Dodger fans that he is scheduled to start tonight’s Game 7.

Darvish has one of the best sliders in baseball, if not the best. But he relies on it breaking hard and late. His slider had less movement in Game 3 and some offerings were backing up or, even worse, hanging. He’s had four days of rest since that start and it’s not like he threw many pitches the day of, anyway. Darvish will be rested but will he be effective? And if he isn’t where can the Dodgers go?

The exciting answer is Clayton Kershaw. He is available in relief tonight after starting three days ago. Otherwise, the Dodgers’ bullpen looks a lot like the Chicago Cubs’ did a year ago. Kenley Jansen threw two great innings last night, but those are still two more innings on top what has already been a crazy workload for him this October. Neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenta Maeda got Game 6 off either.

AJ Hinch got away without using any of his key relievers last night, or maybe nobody has any idea who those key relievers are anymore. Ken Giles has been banished; Chris Devenski has been ineffective and Dallas Keuchel hasn’t made a relief appearance since 2013.

What not many seem to be talking about are the Game 4 starters. Both Charlie Morton and Alex Wood were effective at Minute Maid Park and have had more rest than either Keuchel or Kershaw. To me, they give their teams a better shot than either of the guys who have already made two starts.

But my guess is that both Kershaw and Keuchel come into this game in the middle innings and while one may pitch well, it’s a stretch to see both of them trading 1-2-3 innings. In fact, the more I look at the state of both pitching staffs, the easier this play is to make.

The total is small and it’s juiced under. Yet, I see a whole bunch of ways this thing flies over 7.5 runs. If Darvish is as even as close to as hittable as he was in Game 3, the Dodgers are in trouble. If Kershaw isn’t sharp to bridge the game to the later innings, the Dodgers are in trouble. And then what if Morrow, Maeda and/or Jansen are gassed? The Astros aren’t getting more than five innings out of Lance McCullers. And I’m not sure who is going to get them any outs after that, unless it’s Morton. There’s only one way to play Game 7 and it’s on the over.

Free Pick: Over 7.5 (+100)

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