There are no better words for a baseball fan than “Game 7 of the World Series” and for the fifth time in the last 10 years, we get a winner-take-all game in the MLB postseason.
World Series Game 7
Washington Nationals vs Houston Astros
Wednesday, Minute Maid Park | 8:08 PM ET FOX
No matter what happens in this game, the 2019 MLB season will culminate Wednesday night in Houston with the Astros and Nationals playing Game 7 of the World Series tonight. The Nationals have already made the most of their first appearance in the Fall Classic, winning two such winner-take-all games this October. First, they beat the Brewers in the Wild Card game and then beat the National League favorites, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Game 5 of the NLDS series. They came from behind in both games to win, including last night’s Game 6.
Houston finds themselves in another World Series Game 7 after taking the Dodgers the distance back in 2017 en route to their first-ever title win. The Astros went the distance in the ALDS as well with the Rays taking them to a Game 5 in that series.
What makes this World Series different than any other to come before it? All of the first six games have been won by the visiting team. Heck, even in the NBA and NHL that has never happened. Ever. For what it’s worth, the last three World Series titles have been won on the road, the Cubs in Cleveland, Houston in Los Angeles and Boston in Los Angeles.
What to expect from Max Scherzer in Game 7?
Mad Max was supposed to start Game 5 for the Nationals but was a late scratch due to neck spasms. He was spotted warming up in the bullpen last night to be inserted if needed but sat back down shortly after Rendon smacked a two-run home run in the top of the 7th inning to put the Nationals up 5-2. Had Rendon not put one over the fence, Scherzer probably tosses some innings last night and would be on the shelf today.
That would have been a terrible loss to the Nationals as Scherzer is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 25 postseason innings of work. He got the win in Game 1 in Houston, giving up just five hits and two runs in five innings pitched with seven punchouts and three free passes. He was rather inefficient in that game, however, recording 112 pitches in just five innings, but the results speak for themselves. Word on the street is that a well-placed cortisone shot has solved the neck issues he was experiencing prior to Game 5. Despite his pedigree, expect Scherzer to be on a relatively short leash tonight and look for Patrick Corbin to be the first guy out of the bullpen if that happens.
Can Zack Grienke get it together for Game 7?
In one of the more surprising stories so far this postseason is the struggles of Zack Greinke. The Astros acquired him midseason to aid in just these types of situations come playoff time. Things haven’t gone quite to plan in that department. Greinke posted an 18-5 record with a 2.93 ERA for both the Diamondbacks and Astros, so it’s no wonder that expectations for his postseason were high.
Greinke turned around in the postseason and pitched more as if he were high himself. He has posted a meager 0-2 record with a 5.30 ERA in his 18.2 innings of October baseball. He had just one quality start, in a no-decision against the Yankees, but hasn’t lasted more than four innings in any of his other playoff starts. His last game out was a Game 3 no-decision against the Nationals where we pitched 4 ⅔ innings on the road in Washington, allowing one run on seven hits, striking out three and walking one. Good numbers but his efficiency was poor, hence his short outing.
Much like the Nationals, all hands will be on deck tonight to help in relief. This includes Gerrit Cole, who has a high likelihood of pitching no matter what happens tonight. This will probably be his last game with the Astros as he will be too expensive to bring back next season.
Betting Game 7 of the World Series
As mentioned in my Game 6 article, both teams have come out hot multiple times this series and we have seen a lot of early action before starters settle down. The Astros especially have reeled off 18 first-inning runs so far in October, this ranks 2nd all-time of any team in the postseason. As mentioned yesterday, each lineup is potent from top to bottom, especially at the top. Turner, Eaton, and Rendon for the Nationals and Springer, Altuve and Brantley for the Astros. Those are six names that no pitcher wants to see on their opponent’s lineup card.
The Nationals were over .300 batting in the first inning during the regular season and both teams came through last night, as expected. In fact, we saw some runs on the board early on. Once again, I like to see some early action tonight will make another bet on the first-inning hit at -120. William Hill also has a prop at +1200 for each team to score a first-inning run for you brave few who expect a repeat of last night.
Going back to another bet from last night, the first five-inning total, which is set at 4. We just barely missed it last night with the Nationals scoring twice in the fifth inning, but I shall not be deterred. I’m going back to this again tonight but on the flipside of things. With Greinke’s struggles in the Postseason so far, I think its entirely possible he has a very bad inning and coughs up a few runs before getting yanked in favor of Cole. The ‘over’ four runs in the first five innings is -105 as of this writing.
I have been racking my brain all morning trying to decide who I think will come out on top of this historic Game 7. I have come to one conclusion. I cannot decide. I do however feel good about the total in this game. Game 7s are always high excitement, high pressure, and high-quality games. Despite the quality of pitching which both teams provide, I think that the Nationals get to Greinke early on and the Nationals bullpen finally gives up some runs later in the game.
I expect a lot of pitching changes after the 6th inning and with that brings inconsistency. Guys coming in cold, nervous or overhyped tend to make mistakes. I’m willing to bet that the nerves get to the pitchers more than the hitters tonight and feel good about Game 7 going ‘over’ 7.5 total runs in what should be a showdown for the ages.
Best Bet: Game 7 OVER 7.5 total runs (-110)