The Nationals won Game 6 on Tuesday night, forcing a deciding Game 7. Through six games, this series has been about as evenly matched as possible, as in addition to being tied in wins, only one total run separates the two teams, as the Astros have scored 28 runs in this series compared to the Nationals’ 27 runs. The Astros (-141) are the favorites over the Nationals (+125) on DraftKings Sportsbook, and the total runs has been put at 7.5.
Kurt Suzuki ($6,200; hip) is expected to play in Game 7. Fantasy owners can get up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups by downloading the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter at @DKLive.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
— The Nationals have won each of their past seven road games.
— The ‘Inning 1 OVER 0.5 runs’ market has hit in each of the Astros’ past six Wednesday night games against National League opponents.
— The Astros have led after three innings in each of their past four games against the Nationals.
— Six of the Astros’ past seven home games against National League opponents have gone OVER the total runs line.
— The Astros have won the first inning in three of their past four games at Minute Maid Park.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Max Scherzer ($11,200), who was an unexpected scratch from Game 5 due to a neck injury, has been named the Nationals’ starting pitcher for Game 7. Since it is the final and deciding game, Scherzer will be pushed to his absolute limit, but he is a risky fantasy play because of the possibility of his neck injury flaring up during the start. If healthy, Scherzer is one of baseball’s best at enticing batters to chase pitches located out of the strike zone, generating the fifth most swings outside of the strike zone during the regular season. This contributed to a massive 35% strikeout rate during the regular season, third highest among all starting pitchers. However, Houston is one of the most disciplined teams in the MLB, ranking fifth lowest in chase rate, and the Astros did not chase Scherzer’s pitches outside of the strike zone very often in Game 1. This, in part, contributed to Scherzer throwing an inefficient 112 pitches through just five innings. Scherzer’s nasty stuff and ability to rack up huge strikeout totals gives him high fantasy upside, but he also carries risk due to his neck issue combined with facing the best offense in baseball. Behind Scherzer, the Nationals have Patrick Corbin ($10,000) and Anibal Sanchez ($6,400) available in relief, which is notable given Washington’s primary weakness is its bullpen. Having Scherzer, Corbin and Sanchez combine for most or all of Washington’s innings allows it to cover up for a foul bullpen.
Scherzer demolishes right-handed batters but was mortal against left-handed batters during the regular season, which makes Michael Brantley ($7,200) and Yordan Alvarez ($8,200) more appealing fantasy options among Astros batters given their left-handedness. In Game 1, Alvarez and Brantley recorded the hardest hit balls off Scherzer, with Alvarez reaching 107 mph on a laced single and Brantley reaching 102 mph on a line-drive single. While right-handed batters are less ideal matchups vs. Scherzer due to Scherzer’s elite production vs. RHBs, the high skill levels of George Springer ($9,800), Alex Bregman ($8,400), Jose Altuve ($9,200) and Carlos Correa ($7,600) also make them fantasy options, as all four possess the ability to put a mistake pitch into the seats.
Zack Greinke ($10,400) is taking the mound for Houston against a Nationals lineup that ranked as the eighth best regular season offense by park- and league-adjusted metrics. Greinke was strong at getting deep into games during the regular season and recorded wins in eight of his 10 regular season starts with the Astros. However, Greinke’s volume has been poor in the postseason, failing to complete five innings in three of his four postseason starts. In Game 3 against the Nationals, Greinke lasted just 4 and 2/3 innings and has battled uncharacteristically poor control in the playoffs. Greinke walked just 4% of batters faced in the regular season, one of the best marks among all starting pitchers. In the playoffs, Greinke has walked 9% of batters faced, including walking 16% of batters faced over his past two starts. Behind Greinke, the Astros likely will have Gerrit Cole ($11,000) available for a brief appearance, although Cole is not an appealing fantasy option given his hefty price tag and likely low volume.
Juan Soto ($9,400) is the top fantasy option in Washington’s lineup. Soto is one of the most talented young hitters in the game and had a historically great 2019 season by his age. Soto’s age-20 season in 2019 ranked as the 11th best offensive season all time by a 20-year old by park- and league-adjusted metrics, and his 34 home runs ranked fourth most by a player in his age 20 season. Soto had an explosive .303 isolated power vs. RHPs during the regular season. Soto has had an excellent World Series, hitting three home runs in six games, including titanic shots off RHPs Cole and Justin Verlander. Anthony Rendon ($9,600) is also an elite fantasy option following an outstanding regular season.
In Game 3, Ryan Zimmerman ($5,200) recorded the hardest hit ball off Greinke among Nationals batters, a 110 mph laser that left his bat at a strong line-drive angle of 13 degrees. Asdrubal Cabrera ($6,600) started Game 3 due to strong career numbers against Greinke and recorded two hits off Greinke, a single that had a hit probability of 31% based on the exit velocity and batted ball angle combination and a double that had a hit probability of 64%. Both Zimmerman and Cabrera are cheaper options against Greinke. Trea Turner ($8,800) also recorded a laser shot off Greinke in Game 3, hitting a ball 109.5 mph and producing a hit probability of 82% based on the velocity and angle combo. Howie Kendrick ($8,600) and Adam Eaton ($7,400) are also options.
If healthy, the Nationals have the edge in the starting pitching matchup with Scherzer on the hill, but there is uncertainty as to how Scherzer will look given his neck problem. Because the Nationals have Corbin and Sanchez available in relief, there is some degree of a safety net if Scherzer needs to be yanked early, and there’s a good chance Washington won’t have to go to its foul bullpen for much or any of this game if Scherzer is able to pitch his normal workload.
That said, Houston has the best offense in baseball and was outstanding at home during the regular season. Likely having Cole available for a short appearance bolsters the Astros’ bullpen. It’s tough to pick against the Astros at home, especially given the uncertainty with Scherzer’s health.
Final score: Astros 5, Nationals 3
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