The World Series started off quite nicely for Braves backers as the underdogs took Game 1 in rather straightforward fashion.
A Jorge Soler leadoff homer and an Austin Riley RBI double staked the visitors to a 2-0 first-inning lead, and the club never really looked back en route to a 6-2 final.
One downside to the contest was Braves starter Charlie Morton having to leave the game with a leg injury, later to be revealed as a fractured fibula that will keep him out for the remainder of the series. Amazingly, Morton pitched an entire inning and recorded two strikeouts after being struck by the Yuli Gurriel liner that cause the fracture before leaving the game.
All that being said, let’s take the +121 moneyline win and turn the page with a Braves vs. Astros World Series Game 2 Pick from Houston!
Braves vs. Astros World Series Game 2 Betting Odds
Odds courtesy of BetOnline
|Braves||+106||+1.5 (-196)||Over 9 (-116)|
|Astros||-116||-1.5 (+171)||Under 9 (-104)|
Braves vs. Astros World Series Game 2 Pitching Matchup
With Morton out for the series, the Braves’ ace is now left-hander Max Fried as the southpaw put together an ace-caliber season himself and has been rock-solid in these playoffs so far.
Fried took the ball 28 times for 165.2 regular-season frames and turned in a 3.04 ERA/3.31 FIP along the way. He punched out a decent 8.58 batters per nine innings, but also displayed excellent control with a 2.23 BB/9 while keeping the ball in the yard at a healthy 0.81 HR/9 clip.
The lack of home runs don’t have as a surprise as not only does he now own a career 0.89 HR/9 in the regular season, but he also induced ground-balls at an excellent 51.8% rate while posting a 34.3% hard-hit rate and 6.8% barrel rate, figures that ranked in the league’s 82nd and 72nd percentiles, respectively.
In three starts and 16.2 innings pitched in these playoffs, Fried has posted a 3.78 ERA/4.01 FIP with much of that damage coming in a Game 5 start against the Dodgers in the NLCS in which he allowed five runs in eight hits — including two homers — in just 4.2 innings of work. He previously pitched 12 innings of two-run ball with zero walks allowed against 14 strikeouts in his first two starts of these playoffs against the Brewers in Game 2 of the NLDS and the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Fried owns a career 3.86 ERA/4.30 FIP across 46.2 postseason innings for his career across seven starts and 15 appearances.
Tonight marks his first career start against the Houston Astros.
After the ‘Stros couldn’t get a good effort out of left-hander Framber Valdez who was bounced after just two innings of work after yielding five runs on eight hits and two homers. Now, it’s right-hander Jose Urquidy looking to earn his team a split before playing the next three games of this World Series in Atlanta.
Urquidy was one of many underrated Astros starters to step up in a notable way this season, posting a 3.62 ERA/4.14 FIP across 20 starts and 107 innings of work. Perhaps that solid work should have been expected as it’s nearly identical to his 3.55 ERA/4.13 FIP for his career.
A fly-ball pitcher, Urquidy does get burned by the long-ball at times with a 1.43 HR/9 this season and a 1.37 mark for his career. Despite elite control by way of a 1.60 BB/9, he yielded fly-balls on a whopping 45.6% of the contact against him, and when combined with a 9.3% barrel rate that ranked in the league’s 22nd percentile, so the elevated home run number isn’t surprising.
The 26-year-old has worked just 1.2 innings in these playoffs but was absolutely shelled for six runs (five earned) on five hits — including a homer — and two walks in a Game 3 ALCS start at Fenway Park in Boston. He was previously solid in these playoffs, posted a 0.90 ERA across four appearances in the 2019 postseason before posting a solid 4.02 ERA in four more appearances in the 2020 postseason.
Across 27.1 career postseason frames, Urquidy has turned in a 4.28 ERA/5.,43 FIP with an ugly 1.98 HR/9 in five starts and nine appearances.
Offense and Bullpen Notes
The Braves wasted little time in getting on the board in Game 1 as Jorge Soler became the first player in World series history to lead off the top of the first with a home run, and Riley made it 2-0 later in the inning.
— MLB (@MLB) October 27, 2021
Although the first start and six runs total is a positive, this Braves offense entered the World Series having averaged just 4.00 runs per game in their first 10 games of these playoffs, a notable drop from their 4.88 regular-season average as a top-10 offense in baseball. That said, perhaps the bats are finding a groove of late as they’ve averaged a little more than five runs per game over their last six.
Four of the team’s runs came on extra-base hits including two homers for three runs last night, and that’s not surprising for this club. While the team ranked ninth with a .323 wOBA in the regular season, they also tied the Giants for second in baseball with a .191 ISO, so the power was there in spades for a Braves team that boasts it up and down the lineup. Nine-hole hitter Dansby Swanson, for instance, his 27 home runs this season.
The Braves’ bullpen slid into a share of 10th with the Cardinals while finishing the season with a solid 3.97 ERA after a rough start to the season. The bullpen was a major weapon for this club last season and helped the club nearly pull off an NLCS upset of the future World Champion Dodgers.
While this year’s group wasn’t quit as good, this bullpen has been fantastic in these playoffs. Aside from an 11-2 loss to the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS, the group has largely been flat-out dominant. They yielded just two runs to a white-hot Astros offense in 6.2 innings of work in last night’s contest while it was the seventh time in 11 postseason games in which the Braves they have yielded two runs or less.
Expect this group to get notable work throughout this series with Morton now out and short leashes the name of the game in late October.
The Astros were averaging nearly seven runs per game through the ALDS and ALCS entering last night’s contest but were stymied by a red-hot Braves pitching staff, but this obviously remains a dynamite and deep group.
The Astros were essentially neck and neck with the Blue Jays as the two best offenses in baseball in the regular season, although their 5.33 runs per game on the season was the best mark in baseball. Increasing that average by about a run and a half in these playoffs before last night had them cruising into the Fall Classic.
They weren’t among the best in baseball at home against lefties this season, but did tie for 11th with a .332 wOBA at home off lefties this season, but obviously they don’t have much of a book on an interleague opponent the team has never faced before.
An Astros bullpen that finished the season right in the middle of the pack with a 4.02 ERA in the regular season had had its ups and downs in these playoffs. I mean, they were good in three of the four ALDS games against a very dangerous White Sox offense, but also were part of a 12-run thrashing in Game 3 of that series.
They helped limit the Red Sox to just three runs in the final three games of the ALCS, but Boston also hung 21 runs on Astros pitching in Games 2 and 3 of that series. They began the World Series by allowing just one run in seven innings of work, however, as five relievers combined to largely stop the bleeding after a disastrous outing from Valdez.
- Braves are 8-2 in their last 10 playoff games
- Braves are 15-3 in their last 18 vs. a team with a winning record
- Under is 5-0-1 in the Braves’ last six interleague games
- Over is 4-1 in the Braves’ last five overall
- Astros are 5-1 in their last six following a loss
- Astros are 7-2 in their last nine games as a favorite
- Over is 8-2 in the Astros’ last 10 games overall
- Over is 6-0 in the Astros’ last six games vs. a left-hander starter
Head to Head
- Astros are 5-1 in the last six meetings
- Under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings
- Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Houston
Braves vs. Astros World Series Game 2 Pick
With the way this Braves pitching staff is rolling right now, it’s difficult not to like the road side as slight dogs in this spot.
Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starter in baseball, but in the Fried/Urquidy matchup I’m taking the Braves lefty. Urquidy has been very good in his young career both in the regular season and playoffs, but he’s coming off a disastrous outing and has pitched just once since starting the club’s final regular-season game on Oct. 3.
Fried is coming off a tough outing of his own, but the Braves’ offense has found its footing and I believe they have a better chance at getting to Urquidy and what should be a long night from the Astros bullpen than the ‘Stros touching up Fried and a red-hot Braves ‘pen.
Let’s see if the road side can earn the sweep in Houston before the series shifts to Atlanta.