Remember when the Nationals were down 3-1 in the eighth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS? Well, they haven’t lost since then and now take a shocking 1-0 lead into Game 2 of the World Series. The 5-4 win by Washington in Game 1 handed Gerrit Cole his first loss in his past 19 decisions.
Game 2 is another tall ask for the Nationals, who will face Justin Verlander ($11,400), but Verlander’s proven to have holes this postseason. He’s allowed 10 ER in his past three starts combined, earning the loss in two of those outings.
Stephen Strasburg ($10,600) has allowed just four earned runs in his four postseason appearances and has been the winning pitcher in three of those outings. Let’s dive further into each team’s Game 2 targets below.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS
— The Nationals have won each of their past 12 games after playing the previous day.
— The ‘Inning 1 OVER 0.5 runs’ market has hit in each of the Astros’ past five games.
— The Nationals have led after three innings in each of their past four Wednesday games against the Astros.
— Seven of the Astros’ past eight home games against National League opponents have gone OVER the total runs line.
— The Astros have lost the first inning in each of their past three Wednesday night games at Minute Maid Park against National League opponents.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Jose Altuve ($9,800) is the head of the snake for the Astros and is worth paying up for as the highest priced bat in the order. He scored 10 DKFP in Game 1, getting on base, stealing and eventually scoring a run. He has the best chance of hitting Strasburg in this one.
Alex Bregman ($9,400) had a good game the lone time he’s seen Strasburg, going 2-for-3 with a double, which is much more than the rest of this lineup can say. The issue is he’s been ice cold since the start of the ALCS. He had just three total hits against the Yankees and struck out three times in Game 1 of the World Series. Play him in GPPs if you think he’ll break out in this spot.
George Springer ($9,200) makes more sense to me as the safer option, homering twice in the ALCS and again in Game 1 of the World Series, when he racked up 27 DKFP. Springer reached base four times in the loss, with two walks, a double, two RBI and two runs on top of the homer.
Yordan Alvarez ($8,200) is attractive as a LHB, but he feels overpriced in this spot. Alvarez hit seventh in Game 1, and while he did manage 8.0 DKFP, that was his most since Game 4 of the ALDS against Tampa Bay. There are better places to spend up and more affordable bats with better upside than Alvarez on this slate.
Caros Correa ($8,000) could be one of those spots, hitting sixth for the Astros. He’s been boom-or-bust with home runs, though, which is tough to bank on against Strasburg. Correa’s been cold in the postseason, and this will be a tough matchup to break out in.
Yuli Gurriel ($7,800) offers some savings off the two bats priced above him and has been hitting higher in the order. He’s been hot lately, clubbing a massive homer in the win over the Yankees and getting two hits and two RBI in Game 1. I’d rather take the hotter bat that hits higher in the order than pay for Alvarez or Correa.
Michael Brantley ($7,200) is one of my favorite targets on Houston. He hasn’t gone off since Game 5 against Tampa Bay, when he scored 21 DKFP, but he’s been consistent, getting on base and scoring DKFP in every game since. He has an opposite-hand matchup against Strasburg and hits in a prime spot in the order. His discount doesn’t make sense.
Josh Reddick ($5,400) and Robinson Chirinos ($5,000) should be at the bottom of the order in Game 2 and would make for viable values.
Overall, Houston’s lineup is just 5-for-34 against Strasburg, so it will need to pick it up in this one on offense to even the series.
Despite allowing runs, Verlander still has topped 20 DKFP in three of his postseason starts. On a Showdown slate, I still want him in my lineup for strikeout upside but just not in the captain spot.
Anthony Rendon ($9,600) would be nice to roster, but like the higher-priced Astros, you really only can afford one top bat at most if you’re planning to roster both pitchers. While Rendon’s been solid in the postseason, there are cheaper targets for production. Trea Turner ($9,000) falls under the same category, just with less upside.
Juan Soto ($8,800) has been the guy coming up big time after time for this team and is where I’d keep spending my salary. He had three hits, including a homer and a double, in Game 1, and should be a tough LHB for Verlander to see for the first time.
The NLCS MVP finally cooled off in Game 1, but Howie Kendrick ($8,600) has plenty of experience going against Verlander. I think he’s a viable target here, but his salary is so close to Soto’s I’d rather pay for the hotter bat with more home run upside.
Asdrubal Cabrera ($7,400) and Kurt Suzuki ($6,200) are two of many Nationals value bats that interest me. These two have great BvP numbers against Verlander, and with enough at-bats to make it worth mentioning. Cabrera is 21-for-76 against Verlander, with six doubles and three homers. Suzuki is 14-for-42 with a pair of doubles. These are good spots to save salary.
So is Adam Eaton ($7,000), who’s cheap for a LHB hitting second in the order in this series. Eaton also has experience against Verlander, and while he’s just 7-for-31, he does have a pair of doubles and a triple. Eaton’s scored seven or more DKFP in five straight and is doing a good job getting on base at the top of this order.
Mr. National fittingly hit a home run in the team’s first World Series game, and Ryan Zimmerman ($6,000) carries a cheap price tag. Zimmerman doesn’t have a hit off Verlander in his career, but given the salary, he’s at least worth considering. I’d prefer Cabrera, Suzuki and Eaton, in that order, though.
Victor Robles ($6,800) is the last Washington bat to consider, unless it throws a unique lineup out there. He doesn’t play everyday but does have at least one hit and one run in each of his past four outings. Again, I prefer other value, but there’s upside here if he’s in the lineup.
Imagining the Astros going down 2-0 in this series feels strange, but I really like Strasburg in this spot. He’s been the better pitcher in this postseason, and while the Astros won’t go easily, I’m not sure they’ll be able to get quite enough runs in this one. The Nationals are coming up big in all the right spots, and I think they’ll get some early offense off Verlander. Houston makes a little noise late, but shockingly falls into an 0-2 hole. I’d look to roster both pitchers, as even if Verlander keeps getting hit, you have the strikeout upside. That means captaining one of the cheap Washington bats discussed above.
Final Score: Washington 4, Houston 3
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.