Red hot starter Strasburg gets start one vs. defending champion Cubs

Red hot starter Strasburg gets start one vs. defending champion Cubs

October 03, 2017 3:09 AM
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Dusty Baker and the Washington Nationals appeared committed to starting red-hot co-ace Stephen Strasburg against the Chicago Cubs in Game One of the National League Division Series, which starts on Friday (4:30, TBS).

The likely decision comes after the Nats’ top hurler left Saturday’s final tuneup in the fourth inning against Pittsburgh. While Scherzer looked sharp and ready in that game before the minor hamstring ailment came up, he and Baker were unwilling to confirm when the star would be ready to make his postseason debut.

With still nearly an entire work week before the start of the series, Baker insisted it was just a matter of when not if.

Still, Washington could use its other regular starter left-hander Gio Gonzalez on Saturday, giving Scherzer until next Monday until he would have to take the mound again.

The Nats’ other major concern, the knee injury to superstar Bryce Harper, has been a relief for the team and fans, alike.

Harper is just 3-for-18 at the plate since his return, but has two stolen bases in those five games, so expect him to be able to make a full contribution in the series.

The series underdog Cubs (+115) are going with Jon Lester in the opener, as he has won five of his last six starts heading into the postseason.

Mid-season acquisition Jose Quintana will go in game two for Chicago. He has a 2.35 ERA at Wrigley since moving across town and has lost just one of his last nine starts.

The other confirmed series price was the American League West Division champ Houston Astros were a -165 favorite over the East Division winner, Boston.

Cleveland and the Dodgers were the nearly consensus co-favorites to win the World Series late early Monday morning, with some books slightly favoring the public-heavy Dodgers.

Conversation among the oddsmakers is that the Dodgers are likely the team that the house has the most liability on.

Both L.A. and Cleveland were 3-to-1 or slightly higher, while Houston is the consensus third choice at around 5-to-1.

The Cubs, Washington and Boston are in the next group bunched up at around 8-to-1 or less. Interestingly, usual public darlings Chicago and the Red Sox aren’t getting their typical support.

Recommended preferred prices on taking wild card longshots to win it all would be: Yankees (15-1), Arizona (20-1), Colorado (35-1) and Minnesota (40-1).

MIN (+200, 7.5) at NYY (Tue., 5, ESPN): Luis Severino was not sharp against the Twins on Sept. 20, allowing three ER in three IP, but shouldn’t be enough cause for alarm. What would be cause for alarm would be to lay over two dollars in this game. Still, despite tickets running 50-50 on the ML and RL, money was heavy in favor of the Yanks. Ervin Santana has been one of the best, under-rated stories this season. There is no other consideration here other than taking this big ‘dog, along with the UNDER, which appeared to receive some sharp money early.

COL (+150, 8.5o20) at ARI (Wed., 5, TBS): Bettors were reportedly flocking to lay the run line with Arizona, however, money line wagering was overwhelming on underdog Colorado early. Rockies beat Arizona here with Jon Gray on the hill on Sept. 12 and June 30, while Zack Greinke, who went 13-1 at home this season, beat the Rockies here on July 1 and Sept 11. Two-thirds of the early totals tickets were running on the OVER. Slight moves came on the favorite and OVER.

BOS (-120, 6.5o20) at HOU (Thu., 4, FS1/MLBN): Pitchers Chris Sale and Dallas Keuchel skipped the four-game set between the teams last week, but both pitchers have been pretty solid against the respective opposing lineup, holding the expected nine to the low 200s in around 100 PAs each. Earning the home field at least balances the pendulum in this opener.

BOS (+110, 7o20) at HOU (Fri, 11, FS1/MLBN): Quick turnaround for game two with Drew Pomeranz for the Red Sox and Justin Verlander for Houston. Verlander has had some very good success against this expected lineup. Verlander’s late-season surge since joining the Astros has been astonishing, and he’s held the expected lineup to just over a .200 avg. over nearly 200 PAs. Pomeranz went six innings, allowing one ER on in earning the win on Sat.

HOU (-113, 9o20) at BOS (Sun., TBD, FS1, MLBN): Back to Boston where much-maligned Cy Young winner Rick Porcello can make fans forget about his 17 loss season starting here, though he has allowed this expected lineup to around a .300 avg. in over 100 PAs. The Astros› Charlie Morton is the less-heralded acquisition, but he owns a nice track record against the expected BoSox lineup, limiting it to just under .200 in over 50 PAs.