World Series Game 7
Washington Nationals at Houston Astros
First pitch: 5:08 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA)
No matter the sport, there’s nothing better than a Game 7, especially when a world championship is on the line.
As color commentator (and Hall-of-Famer) John Smoltz so eloquently put it last year ahead of the National League Championship Series version, “I know this: I like Game 7s. And I’m not looking at one stat for tomorrow. That’s the beauty of it.”
Well, from a betting perspective, you always want to break down the numbers. But Smoltz is also true in that assessment. With so much on the line, psychology could potentially be the deciding factor.
Fortunately, as it relates to someone like Scherzer, there need not be any concern surrounding the former multiple-time Cy Young Award winner’s ability to handle the biggest stage possible. In fact, Scherzer craves this type of environment. Such was on display even last night when he was continually pacing around the bullpen in hopeful anticipation of getting in.
Certainly, it’s a trait you want to see in someone you’re backing entering a spot filled with this pressure. Scherzer’s faced plenty of high-pressure spots already and come through for the most part.
With the exception of the NL Wild Card Game (in which he wasn’t even bad at all), the 12-year veteran has been excellent, yielding only three runs total in his three starts (and one key relief appearance) since. During this body of work spanning 20 innings this decade, he composed a 1.35 ERA and 0.90 WHIP while racking up 28 strikeouts.
So long as Scherzer is healthy enough to chug along in his usual groove, he can be counted on for a useful effort under such huge ramifications in regards to this bet.
Greinke, too, can be relied upon in a spot featuring the heaviest stakes. The 36-year-old has a lengthy history pitching in October, and while it’s collectively not the most stellar track record (4.31 ERA lifetime in the playoffs), that experience alone can help brace Greinke for the most important assignment of his career.
I also simply like how he bounces back. As I wrote about going into his Game 1 start of the ALCS, Greinke rebounds right away after a bad showing. He has notably registered a 2.77 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in the 21 ensuing outings following an instance where a lineup tagged him for six or more earned runs.
He didn’t allow nearly that amount in either of his last two starts but Greinke also failed to make it out of the fifth inning in both, marking the third time in four tries that’s happened this postseason. Greinke is aware of that and figures to be locked in as a response.
Remember, also attached to a Game 7 is the “all-hands-on-deck” approach. That means even if one of the pair of starters is off his game, we can still get someone like a Gerrit Cole or Patrick Corbin filling at least some of that void.
In any event, I think Scherzer and Greinke can do a fine job keeping the offenses at bay. Play: UNDER 7.5 (-110)
Yesterday’s Result: Nationals-Astros Under 7.5 (loss)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*
Regular Season: 89-78-12, +1.05 units
Playoffs: 14-8-1, +2.4 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (playoffs 0.5 unit)