MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Thursday ALCS Game 2 10/20

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

October 20, 2022 10:31 AM
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The long cross-country trip for the Phillies and Padres hardly seems like an off day, but it is the only one in the series, as the teams will play up to five straight days beginning on Friday. The Padres are still a slight -115 favorite in their series against the Phillies heading into Game 3, with Ranger Suarez for the hosts and Joe Musgrove for the visitors tomorrow.

What that means is the only game in the postseason tonight is Game 2 between the Yankees and Astros. The Astros took Game 1 by a 4-2 count and are -340 to advance to the World Series per the crew at DraftKings.

New York Yankees at Houston Astros (-145, 7)

The Yankees got everything they could have asked for from Jameson Taillon, given that all they were asking for was a chance. Taillon threw 4.1 innings of one-run ball before giving way to a battered and shorthanded bullpen that surrendered three runs over the sixth and seventh inning, leading to the aforementioned 4-2 loss.

As I wrote about in my series preview and in my Game 1 write-up, the Astros are essentially the Guardians, but with power. We saw that play out in a big way on Wednesday night, as Houston homered three times and struck out only twice. Taillon faced 20 batters and couldn’t retire any of them on strikes. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander struck out 11 to go with the solo homer that he allowed to Harrison Bader.

The Yankees made it interesting in the eighth with an Anthony Rizzo two-out homer, followed by a single and a walk off of Rafael Montero, but Ryan Pressly struck out Matt Carpenter to end the threat and the Yankees went very quietly in the ninth. All in all, Game 1 played out a lot like I expect the series to play out. The Yankees hit two solo homers, accounting for all of their runs, and had three hits otherwise against 17 strikeouts and two walks.

The Astros had seven hits and six went for extra bases. They also drew five walks. In a lot of ways, this series looks like a mismatch, largely because the Astros are just so damn good.

Luis Severino will try to steal home-field advantage for the Bronx Bombers on Thursday. He allowed three runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings against the Guardians with six strikeouts against zero walks. For the regular season, he only threw 102 innings, but had a solid 3.18 ERA with a 2.94 xERA and a 3.70 FIP. The 3.70 FIP came as a result of 14 homers allowed over his 19 starts. His 41.3% Hard Hit% was the highest of his career.

Severino went into that start against Cleveland having thrown just 16 MLB innings since the middle of July when he hit the IL. He was pretty sharp in those three starts against the Pirates, Blue Jays and Rangers, but two of those three teams are not very good playoff indicators. When facing the Astros, it becomes exclusively about command because they don’t swing and miss very often and put a lot of balls in play. Severino’s 13.9% HR/FB% and that high Hard Hit% are concerning signs going into this start.

The Yankees did not use Clay Holmes or Wandy Peralta, so two of their better high-leverage arms should be available. They stole an inning from Frankie Montas in Game 1 and also used Miguel Castro, who was not used at all in the Cleveland series. Still, the shallowness of the bullpen forces the starting pitcher to go really deep. Manager Aaron Boone will have some really hard sixth-inning decisions the rest of the way in this series.

Framber Valdez wasn’t terribly sharp against the Mariners, as he allowed two runs on four hits in 5.2 innings of work with six strikeouts against three walks. The walks are always the key for Valdez, who had a terrible 10.1% walk rate in 20221, but corrected it for 2022 with an 8.1% BB%. Valdez will give up hard contact, but he is an extreme ground ball guy.

He is not a very good matchup for the Yankees. Valdez has allowed just 40 home runs in 514.1 innings of work. Compare that with Severino, who has allowed 74 in his 638 innings. Valdez allowed just 11 homers in his 201.1 innings of work. The high walk rate still isn’t something you want to see, but keeping the ball on the ground and forcing the opposition to manufacture innings is a pretty sound strategy. He’ll be a guy to watch closely next season when the shift goes away, but we don’t have to worry about that in Game 2.

Valdez will be on six days rest here, so he isn’t that far off of schedule. You worry more about the relievers with long layoffs like this. Montero was rusty. Pressly was not. It’s a case-by-case basis with the relief pitchers. From April 25 to September 24, Valdez threw 25 straight quality starts, meaning he pitched at least six innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs. Starters that can give a lot of length while being effective are worth their weight in gold. Valdez has the chance to do that here.

I will note that the Yankees were sixth in wOBA against left-handed pitching, with a lot of really productive hitters by a wRC + standpoint, including Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres. The top of the order absolutely has to be productive given that this has been a favorable split.

With that in mind, the -145 price is a little bit too steep for me. With a series price in pocket, I’m happy that my position gained some equity here. I do think that the Astros make it a 2-0 series, but the Yankees do have the chance at getting some more baserunners here with Valdez’s high BB%. New York was second to Seattle in BB% against left-handed pitchers and Valdez really had to battle through that start against a lesser lineup.

I like Over 7 a little bit. There were some 7s with under -120 juice last night, indicating that a move to 6.5 could be possible, but that has not come to fruition. I’ll keep an eye on this throughout the day. If I could get Over 7 at even money, that’s a bet I’d be interested in. At 7 and -110, I’m less enthused about it. But, it’s a line worth monitoring.

Watch the total throughout the day

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