Game 2: Washington Nationals (+1.5, -140) at Houston Astros (-1.5, +111), Wednesday, 8:08 p.m. ET
Stephen Strasburg, RHP (WSH) at Justin Verlander, RHP (HOU)
Nationals lead series, 1-0
The Washington Nationals edged out a surprise Game 1 win and are now in the driver’s seat in the series with their hottest pitcher toeing the slab in Game 2. The winners of Game 1 have won 18 of the last 22 World Series.
Stephen Strasburg now has a 1.10 career playoff ERA, the third lowest all-time among any pitchers with at least 5 postseason starts. As a National League starter, Strasburg has not seen the Astros since 2017 in an outing where he pitched six scoreless innings.
Strasburg is +210 on PointsBet to record a win in Game 2 which seems like a decent bet with the way he is pitching.
The key for Strasburg is pitching deep into the game. While Game 1’s starter Max Scherzer left the game with the lead, the Astros made him work hard, getting his pitch count up quickly.
The Nationals needed their bullpen for four innings in Game 1, a strategy that may not hold up over the course of the series as the Astros hitters get second and third looks at this beleaguered Nationals bullpen.
Strasburg’s opponent, Justin Verlander is +100 to record the win in Game 2. Verlander’s World Series experience has not been strong, he’s 0-4 with a 5.67 ERA in five career World Series starts.
Verlander was roughed up for four runs in the first inning his last start in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees but really settled in after to throw seven innings and not give up any more runs after the first inning.
On the offensive side of the ball, expect the Nationals to try and run again and manufacture early runs.
In Game 1 we predicted that Trea Turner would steal a base and the speedster did to leadoff the game. Turner stealing a base in Game 2 is +200 again. Runners were successful nine of 12 times in stolen base attempts against Verlander this season.
20-year-old Juan Soto kicked off his World Series debut with three hits and three RBI. Expect Soto be in the middle of the lineup once again vs. Verlander. Something to keep an eye on is Soto is +210 to record 2+ hits and +600 to record 3+ hits again. Lastly Soto is -134 to record an RBI.
Prediction: Nationals (+1.5, -140), Trea Turner steals a base (+200), over 7 combined runs (-105)
Since the Nationals finally won a playoff series, they have caught fire. The Nationals have won seven straight playoff games and have Strasburg on the mound, who has been the most dominant pitcher in this year’s playoffs. Turner should get four or five at-bats at the top of the order so he should plenty of opportunity to get on base and swipe a bag.
The Nationals and Astros combined for over 7 combined runs in Game 1 and now that both teams were able to get a look at the other’s bullpen, there’s a chance more runs can be scored late in the game when both starters are out.
Another interesting prop bet to consider is Verlander over 4.5 hits allowed in Game 2 (+110). Verlander has surrendered more than four hits in each of his last three outings. The veteran right-hander shouldn’t have a quick hook so he should be in the game long enough to sprinkle in a few hits allowed, whether he’s great or bad Wednesday.