We have four MLB playoff games on the schedule for Friday as we settle into the weekend. Yordan Alvarez and Randy Arozarena were the stars of the opening day of the divisional series, but what does Day 2 have in store? Below is my favorite prop for each of Friday's games courtesy of BetMGM.
Statistically, Framber Valdez has been the Astros' best starting pitcher this season. The lefty has a 3.14 ERA on the year, but his xERA of 3.76 suggests that he's gotten a bit fortunate. However, I believe he's in for a potentially rough day on Friday.
The White Sox finished the regular season ranked top five in wOBA (weighted on-base average) and wRC+ (weighted runs created above average) against left-handed pitching. The White Sox were also one of the best teams in baseball against sinkers, which is Valdez's most used pitch. Valdez struggled a bit with walks during the season, which is a dangerous game to play against a team that drew the fourth-most walks during the regular season.
With Lance McCullers pitching a gem and eating innings in Game 1 on Thursday, Dusty Baker has a bullpen that is rested and could be deployed early and often should Valdez struggle. I would bet Valdez to record UNDER 17.5 outs in this game.
Charlie Morton gets the ball for the Braves to open their series with the Brewers. At 37, Morton is still dealing, posting a 3.34 ERA during the regular season.
From mid-June through the end of September, Morton made 19 starts. He went at least 6 innings in 15 of those starts. He went at least 7 innings in 6 of those starts. Morton is clearly a workhorse that Brian Snitker trusts to go deep into games.
The Brewers' offense ranked 27th in batting average, 23rd in slugging percentage and 20th in OPS during the regular season. By most measures, the Brewers have the worst offense of any team in these playoffs, so I'm not particularly worried about them beating up on Morton and forcing him to the showers early. Additionally, the bullpen is a weak point for the Braves, so I don't think they'll be rushing to pull Morton.
I like Morton to pitch into the 6th inning and record over 16.5 outs on Friday.
At 41, Nelson Cruz still has it. The Rays' slugger batted .265 during the regular season with 32 home runs, splitting time with Tampa Bay and Minnesota.
Due to his extended career, nobody on the Rays has faced Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale more than Cruz. In his career, Cruz has had 35 at-bats against Sale, posting a slash-line of .343/.378/.571. Cruz has 12 hits and two home runs against Sale.
There's also concern about just how much Sale can give the Red Sox on Friday. Sale has been mostly a 5-inning pitcher since returning from Tommy John and has only eclipsed 90 pitches once on the season. The Red Sox bullpen has been heavily used as Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez combined for just 7 innings over the Red Sox first two postseason games.
I like Cruz to go over 1.5 total bases at +130 on Friday. Hey, all he has to do is hit the correct ring of the catwalk again.
You might be aware that Trea Turner is currently on a 20-game hitting streak. He easily won the batting title during the regular season. There's no denying his ability to get on base. The thing that makes Turner so dangerous as a baseball player is that once he gets on base, the fun really begins.
Turner has this insane ability to beat out an infield ground ball and turn it into a single. Then, he can steal second base and turn his 20 MPH bleeder into a double. He ranked third in baseball with 32 steals during the regular season.
Turner did not score a run in the Dodgers' wild-card game win over the Cardinals. However, prior to that game, Turner scored a run in 10 straight games. This is a guy who can get on base, get himself into scoring position and then has one of the best lineups in baseball behind him to drive him in.
Rather than being forced to lay a lot of juice on betting Turner to record a hit, I'll turn to Turner scoring a run in this game at +120.
Stats from FanGraphs and MLB.com.