MLB schedule today has 1 game
Is the MLB season over tonight or are the Diamondbacks able to force at least one more game? The Rangers have been road warriors in this postseason, going 10-0 in games away from Arlington. It started with two wins in the Wild Card round against the Rays and has continued ever since. An 11th win would mean a World Series title. A first loss would mean Game 6 on Friday.
Tonight’s Game 5 features a rematch of Game 1 with Zac Gallen and Nathan Eovaldi. That game wound up an instant classic, but we haven’t had much excitement since in what has been the lowest-rated World Series in history. Maybe we get some drama tonight?
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Here are some thoughts on the November 1 card (odds from DraftKings):
(odds as of 9:00 a.m. PT)
Texas Rangers (-110, 8.5) at Arizona Diamondbacks
As I began writing, DraftKings Sportsbook was among the most optimistic on Texas’s chances, posting a market-high line of -115 on the visitors to end the Fall Classic. In the span of writing, DraftKings moved down to -110 and mirrored most of the rest of the market with both teams lined the same. Some shops had the D-Backs a slight favorite. The line suggests a competitive game, but will we get one?
Game 1 was the first time we’ve seen Eovaldi really struggle in this postseason. He allowed five runs on six hits in 4.2 innings of work. He still struck out eight and has 36 strikeouts against just five walks in 30.2 postseason innings, but he didn’t locate as well and gave up three runs in the third, one in the fourth, and one in the fifth to exit trailing 5-3.
Eovaldi still had 17 whiffs on 45 swings and an average exit velocity against of 86.8 mph. He did give up three extra-base hits and a homer that would’ve been gone in all 30 parks, so it wasn’t the strongest night for his location, as the Diamondbacks jumped on the mistakes that he did make. He had mostly gotten away with those in previous outings. The Diamondbacks were fourth in batting average on pitches of 95+ mph. They had two hits on fastballs and four hits on splitters, including three of their four run-scoring hits.
It seems like Arizona reacted to the fastball and sat on the splitter. We’ll see what sort of adjustment Eovaldi makes in that regard for this game.
The Diamondbacks may need run support again here because Gallen seems to be out of gas. He’s struggled throughout the playoffs as his innings workload has increased and a lot of his postseason results seem to be a correction of his numbers based on all the hard contact he allowed in the second half. He had a 49.4% Hard Hit% against and a 10% Barrel%, but only had a 4.03 ERA with a 3.94 FIP.
In the playoffs, Gallen has a 5.27 ERA with a 6.33 FIP. He’s only struck out 18 against 13 walks in his 27.1 innings and has allowed 16 runs on 28 hits, including six homers. He has now allowed 12 runs on 18 hits in his last 16 innings. Even in his first two playoff starts, which were much more successful with two runs allowed in each, he still didn’t have a lot of swing and miss and that’s been a consistent issue.
Gallen did have big home road splits during the regular season and gets the chance to make this start at home, which will be just his second at Chase Field out of six outings. He allowed four runs on six hits and a couple of homers in the 6-1 loss to the Phillies in Game 5 of the last series.
If the Diamondbacks are in position to win the game, at least Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald are well-rested. Neither guy has pitched since Friday. Coincidentally, the Diamondbacks are down 3-1 in the series. A lot of their lesser relievers have been deployed in this series, as they simply haven’t had leads late and the only game that they won was in a blowout. I don’t know if any serious thought was given to using Merrill Kelly on short rest here, but I would have strongly considered it with how Gallen has pitched.
The Rangers needed to use six relievers yesterday, even though they got five innings from Andrew Heaney. Brock Burke and Will Smith struggled in relief, and Arizona forced Jose Leclerc to get hot and enter the game. He’s now pitched back-to-back days, but he is the only reliever to pitch in both Game 3 and Game 4.
Credit to the Diamondbacks for really battling back last night and showing some fight. Some will argue that they stopped Texas’s momentum by making the game close late and by forcing Leclerc into action. Others will argue that momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher.
Well, as we head into Game 5, I just don’t know that Gallen has it in him to rally. He’s only allowed a 38% Hard Hit% with nine barrels in the playoffs, but the 15% K% against an 11% BB% is not going to get it done. I think Eovaldi threw the ball better in Game 1 than his pitching line suggests. I also think he’s simply fresher than Gallen and the stuff is livelier. At the time, it didn’t help that Eovaldi missed about six weeks and his September was terrible, but he’s thrown 174.2 innings now. Gallen has thrown almost 230.
I like the Rangers 1st 5 here at -115. I do think they ultimately win the game and end the series, but I am not super keen on their bullpen and Arizona will empty the tank with Ginkel and Sewald if they have a lead. Sewald has been a little shaky, but Ginkel will be pushed to the extreme with tomorrow’s off day and that could either keep Arizona in the game or give them a chance to hold a lead if they get one in, say, the sixth.
I prefer Eovaldi to Gallen for a lot of reasons and I think the Rangers do lead after five innings. What happens after is a little tougher to project.
Pick: Rangers 1st 5 (-115)