MLB betting market report: Daily picks, advice for World Series Game 5 Astros-Phillies 11/3

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

November 3, 2022 10:30 AM
Noah_Syndergaard

In yesterday’s article, I talked about some of the outliers and oddities we had already seen through three games of the World Series. Lance McCullers Jr. hadn’t allowed more than three homers in a MLB appearance and gave up five. The Astros blew a 5-0 lead in Game 1, something that only five other teams had done in 225 previous World Series games. All of that pales in comparison to a World Series no-hitter, but we got one last night.

Just one day after the Phillies played Home Run Derby, Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly combined to strike out 14 Phillies en route to the second no-hitter in World Series history and the first combined no-hitter. You’ve read the words I’ve written about the high variance level of the MLB Playoffs, but this took it to another level. There was nothing really fluky about it either, as the balls in play from the Phillies had an expected batting average of .081, so they made very little quality contact.

Oh, and ironically, for the third time in four games, the Astros had a 5-0 lead, which actually wound up being the final score. Houston had seven hard-hit balls off of Aaron Nola and got the big blow off of Jose Alvarado with a bases-clearing double. Alvarado wasn’t sharp with the extended layoff, which is something worth following as the series moves forward.

Now, on to Game 5, where the winner will be one game away from immortality.

Houston Astros (-155, 7.5) at Philadelphia Phillies

See the latest betting splits

When the reshuffled Phillies rotation was announced following the rainout, I immediately asked a couple betting buddies of mine, “Can you imagine throwing Noah Syndergaard in an elimination game?” They both responded with no. Fortunately, the Phillies aren’t doing that, but this looks like an awfully precarious spot for the home underdogs. Philadelphia is sending out its fourth-best starter against the presumptive AL Cy Young Award winner in the biggest swing game of the series thus far.

I also felt pretty pessimistic about Ranger Suarez, who seemed to match up very poorly with an Astros bunch that pummeled lefties during the season and was getting a pitch-to-contact hurler with an iffy walk rate, but Suarez shined and the offense gave him plenty of help. It’s crazy to me to think that Nola has struggled twice and Wheeler seemed to have nothing in Game 2, but that Suarez has supplied far and away the best start of the series for the Phils.

Can Syndergaard replicate that feat and give his team a legitimate chance to take a 3-2 lead? Stranger things have obviously happened. He finished the regular season with a 3.94 ERA, 4.43 xERA and a 3.83 FIP in his 134.2 innings of work. With a low strikeout rate, advanced metrics like FIP and SIERA aren’t going to look all that favorably upon him, but he did keep the ball in the park with only 14 homers allowed in 24 starts and one relief appearance. He also only issued 31 walks with a 5.5% BB%. Yesterday was really the first time that we saw the Astros score several runs without the benefit of a home runs, but anybody that keeps the ball in the park has a puncher’s chance.

In 5.1 postseason innings, Thor has allowed one solo homer as part of his three hits with four strikeouts against one walk. I had some concerns about Javier yesterday in that he had only worked 6.1 innings over the last 31 days, but he went out there and pitched the bulk of a combined no-hitter, so I don’t know what to think about the potential rust factors. Syndergaard has made three playoff appearances and went three innings on October 15 against the Braves. He worked 1.1 innings against the Padres.

Maybe Syndergaard isn’t the key part of this handicap. Maybe it is Verlander, who has not looked the part of an ace in two of his three playoff starts. He has allowed 12 runs on 19 hits, including two home runs. He’s struck out 19 and walked four, but he was awful in Game 1 against the Mariners and gave up five runs on six hits in five innings in Game 1 of this series when staked to a 5-0 lead.

He only had nine whiffs on 52 swings in that start. Oddly enough, when he reached back for more oomph on the fastball in the middle innings, that’s when he started getting hit harder. Verlander threw one 96 mph in the first three innings before regularly pumping 96-97 in the fourth and fifth, but it caused him to lose his command.

As I outlined yesterday, I’m not making any more World Series bets, but I think I’d have a hard time trusting Verlander in a hefty favorite role. He’s now thrown 190 innings this season after missing all of 2021, throwing six innings in 2020 and doing so as a 39-year-old off of his second Tommy John surgery. I think it’s perfectly fair to wonder just how much is left in the tank for him. And, I really don’t trust Dusty Baker to pull his horse early if things aren’t going well.

For those that are betting the game, the Phillies do have a very well-rested Seranthony Dominguez and a day off tomorrow. I’m guessing the plan from Rob Thomson is to get multiple innings from his relief ace. If the Phillies do have a lead, they’ll try to get Dominguez as many outs as he can go. The Astros pen is in pretty good shape with the Game 3 blowout, but I think Dominguez is the most important late-inning arm in this game.

I think it’s pretty fitting that something completely ridiculous and outlandish happened last night when I finally got smart enough to stop betting the playoffs. I don’t know what happens tonight, as I can find flaws with both pitchers, but one obviously has more upside than the other.

It’s interesting to me that at least one team has scored five runs in every game of the series, but we’ve seen 11, 7, 7 and 5 as the final totals. We haven’t had a close, dramatic game since Game 1. Hopefully we get one tonight. That’s what I’m rooting for in Game 5.

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