MLB Best Bets for Saturday, October 16, 2021

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We have a full slate of baseball today! Okay, not really, we have two games after multiple days of one or none going on in the MLB. We start the NLCS and we get Game 2 for the Astros vs. Red Sox.

Red Sox vs. Astros

The Astros are up one game in the series and now have Luis Garcia pitching for them. This is the ideal spot to use Garcia as he is a 2.39 ERA pitcher for the Astros at home. The comfort of his own ballpark could make a difference as he allowed five earned runs to the White Sox in his 2.2 innings of work in the Divisional Series. Against the Red Sox this season, he has one start. He went seven innings and allowed just five hits and one earned run. His line was almost an exact replica of what Game 1 starter Framber Valdez had in the regular season against the Red Sox. For Boston, Nathan Eovaldi is taking the bump. This is not as ideal as saving him for Fenway, but it is what you need to do. Eovaldi on the road has a 4.21 ERA. In the playoffs, he’s been great so far, going at least five innings and allowing no more than two earned runs in either start. In his one outing against Houston this year, he went 5.2 innings and allowed five earned runs – and that was a home start. Garcia doesn’t give me the most hope, but I am an Eovaldi fader… even if it has cost me in the past. Play Houston at -118

Dodgers vs. Braves

The Dodgers won 106 games this season, and they had to face a team that won 107 games in order to advance. Now they get to travel to Atlanta to start a seven-game series in which the Braves get four home games despite winning almost 20 less games than the Dodgers. Doesn’t make much sense if you ask me. But, you didn’t, so whatever. The Dodgers should win this series. They won the season series 4 games to 2. I expect them to handle the Braves in five games this time and end this early. They ideally get to the World Series with rest so they can align their pitching the way they want. I’m playing them to win in five games at +250. I also am taking Mookie Betts to be the NLCS MVP at +900. He’s hitting great right now and if he has a decent series, voters might remember his 4-for-4 divisional series Game 5 and push him over.

Tonight, rumor has it that closer Max Scherzer going. Sorry, checking my notes again, Scherzer is their starter, he just came in and closed out Game 5. I’m not sure I like this move. Nothing against Scherzer, he’s an outstanding pitcher and could probably dominate tonight, but I feel like you’re risking him when you have other options available. I’d probably have picked Tony Gonsolin and if the game was lost, fine, but it sets you up for the rest of the series and allows Walker Buehler and Jose Urias to start at home if you throw Scherzer in Game 2. Enough strategizing. Scherzer faced the Braves twice this year, once before his trade, and once after. Before the new-and-improved Braves lineup, he threw six innings and allowed four home runs in the Opening Day start.  After the trade, the reinvigorated Scherzer threw six innings of three-hit baseball and allowed no runs.

For the Braves, Max Fried is pitching. At home, he has a 2.94 ERA and has been significantly better the second half of the year. He was great in his six-inning start against Milwaukee as he allowed no earned runs. He has only allowed three earned runs to the Dodgers this year over 12 innings. In his one home start against them, he allowed one run and six hits. Overall against Fried in his career, the Dodgers hitters are hitting just .189 against him. I think the Braves take the opener of this series at +112.