We picked up a juicy win in our last bet when we went out on a limb and took the Washington Nationals as major underdogs in game two of the World Series. Looking back now, it seems like the obvious play, but remember, the Nationals were getting +165 in the game, so most people, including the books, liked Houston to tie the series up in game two.
My thoughts were that Stephen Strasburg was going to find a way to be special yet again, as the Nats had won all four games he had appeared in during the postseason, and he had a history of great results in the playoffs. And that Justin Verlander would continue being shaky as he had been in his last three starts that saw him go 1-2.
And that is just what happened. Strasburg worked six innings and allowed just two earned runs, throwing 114 pitches and really gutting it out late. It looked like Strasburg was going to leave the game with a no-decision, as Verlander was hanging with him pitch for pitch, but Verlander let up just a bit in the seventh inning, to open the door for Washington.
Verlander allowed two runs in the first inning before he ever recorded an out. But he did a great job of settling down after the rough start and heading into the seventh inning, the game was tied at two runs apiece. In the seventh, Verlander slipped up and allowed two more runs without recording an out. He was quickly pulled from the game, but his bad start to the inning opened the flood gates for Washington, and they poured in six runs in the frame before all was said and done.
The Nats continued their hitting barrage and added runs in the eighth and ninth innings, eventually piling up twelve runs on the evening, and blowing out the Astros 12-3. All told, the Houston bullpen gave up eight runs in just three innings of work.
The win was an enormous one for Washington as they now head home with a two games to none lead in the series. Only three times in Major League history has a team come back after losing the first two games of a series at home. History tells us that the Nationals are going to win the first World Series in franchise history. But in order to do that, they must take care of business tonight at home in game three. For today’s pick, we will stay right here with game three of the World Series from Washington DC.
The Washington Nationals will look to take a three-game lead in the series tonight, as they host their first-ever World Series home game in franchise history. The Nats shocked Houston by taking games one and two in Houston as major underdogs, and as they head home for game three, they once again find themselves as the betting underdog. But that is a position this team has become accustomed to, as people have been doubting this team all season long.
Starting for the Nationals tonight is Anibal Sanchez (1.0 0.71 ERA), and for the Astros it is Zack Greinke (0-2 6.43 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight runs. The Astros are -142 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:07 PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington DC.
When Anibal Sanchez started out the season 0-6, it looked like his career was coming to a close. The 35-year old right-hander enjoyed a mostly successful 13-year career, but he really struggled to start the season. But after the slow start, something clicked for Sanchez, and he is 12-2 since. In the playoffs, he has been nearly unhittable. Literally.
Sanchez took a no-hitter deep into his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals and finished his day with seven and two-thirds of an innings of shutout, one-hit ball. In the postseason he has pitched a combined twelve and two-thirds of an inning and has allowed just one run on five hits while striking out fourteen. Like the rest of this Nationals team, Sanchez has caught fire, and I expect him to once again be good tonight.
Zack Greinke has made three postseason starts for Houston this year and has really struggled. In his first start, he failed to make it past the fourth inning against the New York Yankees. And in his last two starts, he gave up a combined nine runs in nine and two-thirds of an inning pitched. He has gotten blasted for five home runs in his last two starts, and Houston lost both games. When the Astros brought Grienke in at the trade deadline, it was for this exact spot, they need him to find a way to turn things around tonight.
When this number posted, I let out an audible, huh? I know that if you look at the careers of Anibal Sanchez and Zack Greinke side by side, you are going to want to take Greinke every time. But to see the Nationals as home dogs after sweeping the two games in Houston is shocking. This Nationals team is playing with all kinds of swagger, and they believe they can win. They have won eight straight games, and eighteen out f their last twenty. And nearly every one of those wins came in must-win high-pressure situations.
Finally, tonight they are at home and can breathe just a little bit, and you are going to make them big dogs? Yeah, I’ll jump all over that. Greinke has been awful all postseason long, and I see no reason why he is going to snap out of that funk against this red-hot Nats team. And when you look at Sanchez, he seems to be pitching on another level right now, and I like him to continue that dominance.
The Washington bullpen scares me, as Sanchez isn’t likely to get too deep into this game. But they managed to save Doolittle and Hudson last night, and Patrick Corbin should be available as well if they need him. Corbin has been used out of the bullpen multiple times in this postseason and is expected to start game four. But if Washington sees a chance to win tonight and take a 3-0 series lead, they will turn to him if they need him. I see the Nationals winning, and it might not even be all that close. Give me the Washington Nationals as home underdogs tonight in game three of the World Series from Nationals Park in Washington DC!