Thankfully the NLCS is over and the World Series is about to begin, because I need a fresh start. Throughout the course of a very fruitful first three rounds of the 2023 Major League Baseball playoffs, I had one of my hottest streaks of all time. I did hit my one play in ALCS Game 7 as well, but between Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS, I totally took it on the chin. I went 0-5 there, dropping my record these playoffs to a still-very-profitable 32-17.
Yes, the Phillies offense not showing up for Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS hurt us in a big way, but also: Ketel Marte hit over 1.5 H+R+RBI in nine out of 12 playoff games through the NLCS. The two times I played him on that very prop, he missed both. Sometimes that’s just how it goes. Let’s hope to hit the winners this World Series.
Diamondbacks (+130) at Rangers (-155), 8:05 p.m. ET
The first thing that jumps out to me is this series is incredibly unpredictable. The hitters aren’t too familiar with the pitchers, but both offenses are fully capable of being potent. Both teams were very hot-and-cold this season, too, especially in the second half. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see something like one team win the first three games and then lose the next three to force a Game 7.
In this one, Gallen has been pretty shaky in the playoffs while Eovaldi has rebounded from an injury and terrible final month to look like the ace he was in the first half.
The plays: Eovaldi over 5.5 K (+120); Marcus Semien over 0.5 R (-115)
The Diamondbacks were one of the lower-strikeout teams in baseball this regular season, but you can still get them swinging. They’ve struck out 9.67 times per game in the playoffs. They also have very low familiarity with Eovaldi. He hasn’t faced the D-backs this year and only Evan Longoria, Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have ever faced him. Eovaldi struck out 24 in 19 2/3 innings in his first three playoff starts this year and last time out was the second time the Astros had seen him in such a short window, which is always better for contact hitting.
Perhaps most importantly, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy will let Eovaldi work out of his own jams. Remember Game 2 in Houston when the Astros loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth? Bochy left Eovaldi out there. He needs innings from his top two starters to win the series. I believe Eovaldi goes around six innings, maybe more, and strikes out at least a batter per inning.
On Semien, I think the Rangers score a bit off Gallen in this one and Semien sits in that cushy leadoff spot, with Corey Seager, Evan Carter and Adolis García behind him in the order. Semien had a rough start to the playoffs, but he picked it up in the last two games, getting on base six times and scoring twice. He’s actually scored eight runs in 12 playoff games despite having not performed well at the plate.
Plus, Semien has hit Gallen. He’s 5 for 8 with two doubles and this season was 4 for 6 with his last two at-bats being a single and a double on Aug. 22. We’re going to see Semien get on base and score early in the game. If you’re feeling aggressive, I’ve seen Semien scoring the first run of the game is +450.
Bonus home run sprinkle: Corey Seager +340
I’m not going to count these for my record, but I know a lot of people get home run bonus boost plays at their sportsbooks, so we’re going to pick a home run player each game.
Seager hit 33 homers in the regular season in only 119 games and 23 of those homers game in 64 games. He’s now homered in two of his last four games and has hit two home runs in four games in Arlington so far in the playoffs. Gallen gives up a lot more home runs to lefties, on a rate basis and has allowed five homers in his last two starts with four of those coming from left-handed swingers Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper.
Seager’s hit .333 (7 for 21) in his career against Gallen without a home run, but he’s made a lot of hard contact and it’s only a matter of time before he lofts one into the seats.