Game: Atlanta Braves at Houston Astros
Time: 8:09 PM ET
Starting Pitchers: Max Fried vs. Jose Urquidy
Odds: Braves +102, Astros -112
The underdog story is underway. The Atlanta Braves didn’t have a chance against the Houston Astros, right? Then, they won Game 1 of the World Series 6-2 as Jorge Soler and P Charlie Morton gave valiant efforts. Soler went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs while Morton pitched 2.1 innings retiring his final three batters while pitching on a broken leg. You have to love the underdog.
For the Braves story to continue tonight, it will be up to left-hander Max Fried to keep the Houston offense tamed as they were in Game 1. Fried is 15-8 overall with a 3.16 ERA. He has made three appearances this postseason. The Braves won two of those starts, but Fried was knocked out in his last start in Game 5 of the NLCS. He gave up five earned runs to the Dodgers in 4.2 innings to take the loss.
Prior to that Dodgers loss, the Braves had won seven straight games in which Fried was the starting pitcher. Only once in those seven starts did Fried give up more than two earned runs and he only allowed seven total earned runs in 47 innings. If that Fried shows up tonight, the Astros will have a tough time producing runs.
Houston will counter with Jose Urquidy who went 8-3 during the regular season with an ERA of 3.62. The Astros right-hander has made just one postseason appearance and it was not a good one. He was forced out of Game 2 of the ALCS against Boston in the second inning.
Urquidy gave up five earned runs in just 1.2 innings as the Red Sox pounded Houston 12-2 in that Game 2. That was only Urquidy’s second start in October. He pitched the final day of the regular season. He was not involved in the decision, but the Astros did beat Oakland.
Both teams will eventually rely on their bullpens to finish the game. Last night, the Braves bullpen continued its postseason heroics taking over for Morton and holding the Astros to just two runs. Don’t be surprised if Urquidy pitches through the Braves lineup just once – maybe twice – before exiting. That would leave the remainder of the game up to the Astros bullpen which has a postseason ERA of 3.16.
The Braves bullpen ERA is not bad either – 3.28 and Atlanta pitchers have held opponents to a .228 batting average this postseason. Postseason baseball tends to favor pitching and Unders as last night’s game finished Under the total of 8.5. Tonight’s total is also 8.5 and both teams trend toward the Over because of their scoring capabilities.
However, this history of the Braves-Astros matchup says otherwise. In the last 11 games between these two teams, the Under has hit in eight of them. With the Game 1 win, Atlanta has now won 16 of its last 20 games. Houston is 3-3 in its last six.