MLB postseason picks: Astros vs. Red Sox, Braves vs. Dodgers
We went 2-0 picking postseason baseball on Tuesday night, and we’ll try to do the same thing on Wednesday as the League Championship Series roll on!
The ALCS – tied 2-2 – gets underway first this time around, as Framber Valdez and the Houston Astros take on Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox in a pitching rematch of Game 1. Then the Atlanta Braves – holding a 2-1 edge in the NLCS – will deploy their bullpen against Julio Urias and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Our selections for both contests are below.
Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox, 5:08 p.m. ET, FS1
Wed, October 20 2021, 9:08 PM
BOS Red Sox
The runs have been coming fast and furious in the 2021 ALCS, and Game 5 should prove to be no exception.
Framber Valdez has given Dusty Baker and his Astros teammates little reason to be confident through two postseason starts, authoring a 7.71 ERA. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings in Game 1 of this series, surrendering three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks.
Enrique Hernandez cannot stop hitting.— Inside Edge (@IE_MLB) October 16, 2021
.516 AVG and 1.129 SLG this Postseason 🔥🔥🔥#DirtyWater | #Postseason pic.twitter.com/zgTPRKQh2a
Red Sox outfielder Enrique Hernandez is 3-for-11 (.273) with a homer off Valdez, and is batting .463 in these playoffs, so look for him to make an early impact.
Chris Sale was pulled at the first sign of trouble by manager Alex Cora in Game 1, not a terrible overreaction considering Sale’s disastrous ALDS outing against the Tampa Bay Rays (five runs allowed over one inning) and the fact that the erstwhile ace of this staff hasn’t looked like his usual self since Tommy John surgery.
Houston managed 5.46 runs per game on the road in the regular season – second only to the Rays – so it may not matter who relieves Sale from the Red Sox shaky bullpen for Over bettors.
MLB pick: Over 4.5 runs (first five innings)
Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8:08 p.m. ET, TBS
Thu, October 21 2021, 12:08 AM
The Dodgers are prohibitive favorites to even up this NLCS with the Braves, and it’s easy to see why.
The Braves have yet to announce an “opener” for what looks like a bullpen game for them, but A.J. Minter could get the call. He struck out seven Dodgers over three scoreless innings when he faced them in Game 5 of the 2020 NLCS, and has recorded 3 1/3 scoreless frames thus far this postseason.
CODY. BELLINGER. pic.twitter.com/C8JHFkalqW— Just Baseball (@JustBBMedia) October 20, 2021
Where it likely gets hairy for Atlanta is late, when manager Brian Snitker may to turn to Tyler Matzek and Luke Jackson for the eighth time in as many playoff games. Matzek sprung a leak in Game 2 (two runs allowed), and Jackson imploded (four runs allowed) in Game 3. It remains to be seen if they can effectively bridge the gap to closer Will Smith, or if they’ll even get the chance with the Braves reaching into the back of their bullpen throughout the night.
L.A. manager Dave Roberts should have a slightly less stressful evening with Julio Urias on the mound. His puzzling relief appearance in Game 2 aside, the MLB’s lone 20-game winner has worked nine innings in these playoffs and allowed only two earned runs. Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol should be at the ready late after getting Game 3 off.
MLB pick: Dodgers -1.5 runs (+102)