Game 3: Houston Astros (-1.5, +135) at Washington Nationals (-1.5, -160) Friday, 8:08 p.m. ET
Zack Greinke, RHP (HOU) vs. Anibal Sanchez RHP (WSH)
Nationals lead series, 2-0
The Washington Nationals have shocked the baseball world by taking a 2-0 lead on the road over the favored Houston Astros. The Nationals offense seems to have saved their best performance for the final series of the year, defeating arguably the two favorites for the American League Cy Young award, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the first two games of the series.
The series now shifts to Washington, where the Nationals are hosting their first ever World Series game. With Patrick Corbin coming in relief in Game 1, he will not start Game 3.
Instead, that honor will go to Anibal Sanchez, who has given up just one run across 12.2 innings this postseason. Sanchez is +155 to get the win in Game 3 on PointsBet.
Even before the playoffs, Sanchez was on a roll. The veteran right-hander had a 2.42 ERA over his final four starts of the regular season. While Sanchez isn’t the strikeout artist that the Nationals’ previous two starters, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, are, he has found a lot of success the last few months pitching to contact.
Sanchez will be opposed by right-hander Zack Greinke, who has not been great this postseason. Greinke has a 6.43 ERA and has gone just 14 combined innings in three starts. With the season on the line, down 0-2, the Astros need a more effective Greinke or this series may not get back to Houston.
Greinke has had a quick hook in the playoffs, not making it through five innings in two of his three outings. This makes Greinke at +125 to get the win very risky, even if the Astros as a team get the win.
We have predicted Trea Turner at +200 to steal a base in each of the first two games of the series. That will likely not be the case in Game 3 as Greinke is much better at holding runners. Base stealers were successful just twice out of six attempts during Greinke’s 33 regular season starts.
Juan Soto, who had another big game in the middle of the Nationals’ order, is +210 to record at least two hits in Game 3. As a 20-year-old, Soto hasn’t seen the 36-year-old Greinke much in his young career. Soto is 0-for-3 lifetime against Greinke.
The Nationals player with the most success off Greinke that is likely to be in the starting lineup is infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, who is 16-for-37 in his career vs. Greinke.
An interesting prop bet for an Astros hitter is Jose Altuve is +111 to record at least three total bases in Game 3. Altuve has been the Astros’ most consistent hitter during the entire playoffs.
The former MVP recorded three hits in Game 2 and has had some success against the strike-throwing Sanchez in a small sample size against him. Altuve is 4-for-11 with a home run in his career vs. Sanchez.
If you are feeling extra confident in Altuve, the second baseman is +250 to record 4+ total bases.
Prediction: Astros (-1.5, +135) take Game 3, over 7.5 combined runs (-115), Jose Altuve has at least 3 total bases (+111)
The Astros are just too good to go away quietly in this series. They finally get away from the hard-throwing pitchers like Scherzer and Strasburg, and while Sanchez has been effective lately, he’s a lot different from the previous two starters.
The Astros are probably going to need more offense to win this game but even if they don’t find it, the Astros and Nationals have already combined for over 7.5 runs in each of the first two games of this series.
Greinke is 6-1 with a 1.27 ERA in nine career starts against the Nationals, his best ERA vs. any team. Our prediction is Greinke steps up and the Astros finally bust out offensively later in the game against the Nationals bullpen as the Astros get back into the series 2-1.