If Game 1 is any indication, this could be setting up to be a fantastic World Series. In Game 1, the Washington Nationals stole a game on the road by defeating the Houston Astros 5-4. This was Gerrit Cole’s first loss since May, and while Max Scherzer did not look particularly sharp, the Astros did not capitalize on their opportunities with runners on base.
Game 2 is now set for Wednesday night. The pitching matchup for this one features the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg (21-6, 3.16 ERA) matching up with the Astros’ Justin Verlander (22-8, 2.73 ERA). First pitch for this one is scheduled for 8:07 pm ET.
The moneyline for this matchup features the Houston Astros at -240 and the Washington Nationals at +200.
Hoping For A 2-0 Lead
If there is an odds-on favorite after one game to win the World Series MVP, it has to be Juan Soto. He was absolutely electric for Washington in Game 1. On the night, he went 3 for 4 with a home run, three runs batted in, a run scored and a stolen base.
It is not surprising to see Soto producing on the biggest stage. Throughout the regular season, he hit .282/.401/.548 with 34 home runs, 110 runs batted in and 110 runs scored. He and Anthony Rendon are the catalysts that drive the Nationals’ offense. In total, the Nationals had nine hits, with eight of them coming off of Cole. One of the other big hits went to first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who went 1 for 4 with a solo home run.
On the pitching side, the Nationals are hoping to get a little more of a dominant performance out of Strasburg than what they got out of Max Scherzer. It was not that Scherzer was atrocious, as he went five innings, allowing five hits, two earned runs, three walks and striking out seven. It is just that the Astros offense was able to grind out at-bats and run his pitch total up.
Strasburg has been sensational this postseason. In four games (three starts), he has gone 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .220 against him. In 22 innings, he has allowed 18 hits, four earned runs, two home runs and has struck out 33 versus just one walk. He will look to continue his dominance on Wednesday in Houston.
Astros Looking To Split First Two
As dominant as Cole has been this year, he certainly fell a bit flat on Tuesday. Over seven innings, Cole allowed eight hits, five earned runs, one walk and struck out six. Whether he was amped for Game 1 or what, he was simply missing spots and hanging his off-speed stuff.
While one AL Cy Young Award frontrunner struggled, the Astros hope that another will prosper in Game 2 of the World Series with Verlander. This postseason, Verlander has gone 1-2 in four starts with a 3.70 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and opponents are hitting .205 against him. In 24 1/3 innings this postseason, he has allowed 18 hits, 10 earned runs, five home runs and has struck out 29 versus eight walks. It will be interesting to see if he can keep the ball in the yard, something he has struggled with throughout the season.
Offensively, the Astros have to be happy to see Yordan Alvarez have some success in Game 1. The rookie, who has struggled much of the postseason, went 2 for 3 with a walk. Despite that, though, he still came up short in a big spot in the seventh, striking out with two outs and the bases loaded.
One player who did not disappoint in Game 1 was George Springer. He went 2 for 3 with a home run, two runs batted in and two runs scored. In fact, stemming back to 2017, he has now homered in five straight World Series games, setting a new record. The Astros, who outhit the Nationals 10-9 in Game 1, will try to produce some more of those hits when they have runners on in Game 2.
Betting The Favorable Moneyline
Game 1 taught us that as dominant as these pitching matchups look, it is still the big bats that can carry a team. For the Nationals on Tuesday, that big bat was Soto’s. Still, with either starter capable of being shutdown and both offenses capable of putting up runs, these games really feel like they could be a flip of a coin. With that in mind, it seems prudent to take the more favorable moneyline.
Tuesday night that would have paid well for the Nationals and Wednesday’s moneyline opens up even more favorable for Washington. I wouldn’t blame you if you went either way, but for my money, I am taking the Nationals at +200.