Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves Matchup Preview (11/2/21): Betting Odds, Starting Lineups, Daily Fantasy Picks
Against most teams, a first-inning grand-slam is a dagger. Adam Duvall had essentially ended the World Series after doing so in the first inning of Sunday’s Game 5.
However, the Astros aren’t “most teams”. Houston boasts the best lineup in baseball, and the Astro bats finally woke up at the final hour. Luckily, they’ll try and pull off the upset back in Houston.
However, does that mean Houston is going to cruise back into this series?
Well, the Astros are -125 favorites on the ML in Game 6. Probably because Max Fried is taking the mound for the Braves, who got shelled for six runs in Game 2.
But, Fried has been a strong bounce-back performer all year, and I wouldn’t underestimate him in this one.
Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros Betting Odds
After five long games in the series, any bullpen advantages have been worn away. If either team is going to win this series, it will be on the back of their bats.
Plus, those bats have a strong advantage on Tuesday night, as both starting pitchers have questionable-at-best postseason résumés.
All-in-all, I believe this game is going to turn into a hitter’s duel. There were 14 runs scored last night, and with both offenses playing well right now, I’m looking for another double-digit affair in Game 6.
The consensus total right now is 8.5, and I’ll happily play the over at either 8.5 or 9.
My pick: Over 8.5 (-115 at DraftKings)
Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup
LF Eddie Rosario (L)
1B Freddie Freeman (L)
2B Ozzie Albies (S)
3B Austin Riley (R)
DH Jorge Soler (R)
CF Adam Duvall (R)
RF Joc Pederson (L)
SS Dansby Swanson (R)
C Travis d’Arnaud (R)
P Ian Anderson (R)
Atlanta Braves Analysis
With the Braves losing Charlie Morton for this series, their pitching depth has become a big storyline of the series.
The Braves had the weakest bullpen of any team entering this postseason, and they proceeded to allow nine runs on 12 hits and six walks last night. Rookie Tucker Davidson pitched poorly, which is somewhat expected. As did Drew Smyly, which was definitely expected.
However, I was surprised AJ Minter couldn’t come through last night. He had allowed just one run in his 11 innings of relief this postseason, adding a 1.08 FIP as well. However, he then allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in his two innings last night.
Now, the Braves will turn to Max Fried for a second series start. He’s had five days of rest, which is good, but he also allowed six earned in that start and has a lifetime 4.53 postseason ERA.
The offense will continue to produce, but it’ll be important to get some quality innings from Fried and Co. Because nobody can beat the Astros in a shoot-out.
Houston Astros Starting Lineup
2B Jose Altuve (R)
LF Michael Brantley (L)
3B Alex Bregman (R)
DH Yordan Alvarez (L)
SS Carlos Correa (R)
RF Kyle Tucker (L)
1B Yuli Gurriel (R)
CF Chas McCormick (R)
C Martin Maldonado (R)
P Luis Garcia (R)
Houston Astros Analysis
Luis Garcia takes the mound for Houston. He’s been a pitcher I’ve backed all season, but my confidence in him has dipped lately.
He’s posted a 7.62 ERA in his four post-season appearances, pitching past the fourth inning just once. The biggest problem has been his control, as he’s walked a ridiculous 11 batters during his 13 postseason innings.
Garcia is a Rookie of the Year contender, and it’s true he has one of the best wind-ups in baseball:
we are fascinated by luis garcia's windup pic.twitter.com/errLVPrnuJ
— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 23, 2021
But my confidence in him has faded fast. Plus, he’s on short rest after his last start, so my confidence level in him is even lower.
However, the opposite is true for the Astros lineup. The team batted 12-for-38, including four extra-base hits, and went 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
Of course, the at-bat of the night wasn’t even a hit. Martin Maldonado was 4-for-41 (.098 BA) in the 2021 postseason entering this game, posting a .257 OPS during that time. And all of Astro nation thought the series was over when the Braves walked Carlos Correa to load the bases and face Maldonado in the fifth.
Maldonado proceeded to draw the walk of the century:
Martin Maldonado RBI walk. Tied game 5-5! pic.twitter.com/59nRkLbMep
— The Base Hit (@the_basehit) November 1, 2021
Marwin Gonzales then pinch-hit in two runs in the next at-bat, and the Astros got this series back to Houston.
If the weakest link in the Houston lineup can be the hero, the Astros become impossible to beat.
Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros Daily Fantasy Corner
As everyone is aware from Game 2, the Astros crush left-handed pitching. They were the best lineup against southpaws from Opening Day to October 1.
As such, I think there’s a few Astros bats we can target. Both Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley posted two-hit games in Game 2, with Brantley hitting an early double and Altuve hitting a late-game home run.
Both are good picks, but Altuve is slightly better. Historically, Brantley has struggled against the left-side, while Altuve has posted a .800 OPS against them plus has a positive run-value against curveballs (Fried’s second-favorite pitch).