Game 7: Washington Nationals (+1.5, -191) at Houston Astros (-1.5, +160) Wednesday, 8:08 p.m. ET on FOX
Max Scherzer, RHP (WSH) vs. Zack Greinke, RHP (HOU)
World Series tied, 3-3
The best two words in sports are Game 7, and we will have one Wednesday night when the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals play in the final game of the 2019 season. The winner takes home a World Series championship and the loser will be playing this game over in their heads for a long time.
Both clubs have former Cy Young award winners on the hill in Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke. This is the first Game 7 in World Series history that has two former Cy Young winners starting against one another.
Scherzer was originally supposed to pitch in Game 5 but was scratched due to neck spasms. The 35-year-old was also seen throwing in the Nationals bullpen during Game 6 but did not enter the game. The Nationals probably feel fortunate about that, as they now have the seven-time All-Star available for Game 7.
Scherzer pitched five innings, giving up two runs and striking out seven Astros during Game 1 of this series.
Greinke has not had the playoff success the Astros envisioned when acquiring him from the Arizona Diamondbacks in July. Greinke has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in three of his four postseason starts. The 36-year-old has a 5.30 ERA in those four starts and batters have an OPS of .930.
Obviously, in Game 7, it’s all hands on deck, so if Greinke struggles early, expect another quick hook.
Greinke is +120 to get the win but considering how he has struggled to even qualify for the win by getting through five innings, we should pass on this one. For comparison, Scherzer is +165 to get the win.
With Gerrit Cole having pitched Game 5 on Sunday and Justin Verlander in Game 6 on Tuesday, it would be a surprise to see either of them for any length in Game 7.
Keep an eye on Astros rookie right-hander Jose Urquidy, who was the star of Game 4 with five scoreless innings. Urquidy has given up just one run in 9.1 innings this postseason and should be one of the first guys out of the bullpen after Greinke.
Having just started four days ago, he likely won’t give the Astros significant length, but he should be able to contribute for an inning or two.
The hero for the Nationals offensively so far has been 21-year-old Juan Soto. Soto has homered three times and has five extra-base hits in six World Series games.
Soto is +140 to have at least three total bases in Game 7 and +260 to have at least four total bases. With the way he’s swinging the bat and with how much Greinke has struggled, this should be paid attention to.
Astros third baseman Alex Bregman had two hits including a home run in Game 6 and is +111 to have at least three total bases in the game.
If you’re feeling extra confident in Bregman in Game 7, the regular season MVP candidate is +250 to record at least four total bases.
Prediction: Astros win World Series (-1.5, +155), over 7.5 runs (-110), Soto has at least three total bases (+140)
This game could go either way but with the Astros at home and having been under the intense spotlight of a Game 7 World Series game before, they are the pick. It’s unclear what Scherzer will give the Nationals after saying to reporters he was unable to hold up his arm just three days ago before Game 5.
If Scherzer cannot give the Nationals at least five strong innings, it’s going to be tough for them to win. They have lefty starter Patrick Corbin likely available in the bullpen, but he has an era of 6.64 this postseason. Starter Anibal Sanchez also hasn’t pitched since Game 3, but he gave up 10 hits in 5.1 innings in that outing. Sanchez’s pitch-to-contact approach may be problematic facing the Astros, who excel at making hard contact.
It’s well documented that the Nationals bullpen had the worst regular season of all 30 MLB clubs and should not be trusted in a win-or-go-home championship game.
Five of the six World Series games have been over 7.5 runs. With concerns over Scherzer’s health and Greinke’s ineffectiveness, the over (-110) should be considered again.