We had a disappointing 1-2 start to postseason play. Corbin Burnes‘ control issues popped up again, which worked in our favor, but Kevin Gausman was shaky and the Rays failed to get things started against the Rangers.
We’ll look to rebound with three more plays for the second day of the wild-card round.
We saw real fireworks in the first half of this matchup Tuesday, with the two sides trading shots and combining for seven runs. I don’t see history repeating itself in Game 2.
For one, the pitching matchup is much better. Brandon Pfaadt is a talented kid but is very raw and tends to give up a lot of power. Zac Gallen is as consistent as they come, and he led all pitchers on either side in WAR this season. This is an upgrade for the Diamondbacks, to say the least.
Gallen gave up next to no power over the final month of the season, posting a very low barrel rate of 5.9% while allowing a homer approximately every 75 at-bats. Very strong numbers.
He’ll throw a lot of strikes and allow very little hard contact, which limits the amount of damage teams can muster up against him.
On the flip side, Freddy Peralta getting the nod is preferable to Burnes – at least to me. The latter is a very good pitcher but tends to give up power and can be erratic. When he’s off, he’s really off. That’s what we saw Tuesday night.
Peralta had the better underlying profile over the course of the season and over the past month – and the Diamondbacks haven’t seen him yet.
I think Peralta, who’s recorded 12 strikeouts and allowed only four hits over eight innings of playoff baseball, is going to limit the Diamondbacks early in what should be a low-scoring, high-drama game.
With the comfort of a push at four runs, I see real value backing the under in this spot.
Bet: F5 Under 4 (-125)
José Berríos over 14.5 outs
The Blue Jays will turn to Berríos for a quality start with their season on the line. Because the margin for error is nonexistent, Toronto won’t give Berríos – or anyone who enters the game – a long leash. Still, I expect him to grind out at least five innings.
Berríos was a workhorse all season long, completing at least five full innings in 29 of his 32 starts. That’s a 91% success rate. Even accounting for the impact the high stakes could have, I see real value here.
Manager John Schneider will no doubt go back to some of those guys – and run the bullpen into the ground – if that’s what the situation calls for. That doesn’t mean it’s the game plan.
If Berríos carries himself well and/or the Jays provide real run support, Schneider will want him to work as long as possible to preserve the bullpen for a potential Game 3.
Odds: -130 (playable to -140)
Freddy Peralta over 14.5 outs
Peralta was another consistent innings eater this season. He completed at least five in 28 of his 30 starts, which equates to a 93% success rate. Pretty good!
He enters the playoffs at the top of his game, having conceded one or zero runs in six of his past nine starts. He’s littering the zone with strikes and putting balls in the dirt, inducing grounders more than 50% of the time over the last month. He’s in good shape to last against the Diamondbacks.
While Arizona got to Burnes relatively early in the opening game of the series, it hasn’t hit righties all that well for a while. The Diamondbacks rank 26th in xwOBA since Sept. 1, just ahead of teams like the Reds, Nationals, and White Sox.
I expect the electric Peralta – whose stuff the Diamondbacks haven’t faced this season – to navigate his way through a handful of innings and keep this game close.
Odds: -110 (playable to -130)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @ToddCordell.
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