Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros Game 7 Pick
Washington Nationals (103-74) vs. Houston Astros (117-62)
When: 8:08 p.m., Wednesday, October 30
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Moneyline: WSH +122/HOU -132
Runline: Nationals +1.5/Astros -1.5
Mind Over Matter
“Game 7” are the two most exciting words in sports if you’re a neutral observer and the two most nerve-wracking words if you have a team in a Game 7 situation, especially when it’s a Game 7 like this one, where you’re playing for a World Series title. This is a situation where one mistake can doom an entire franchise’s hopes, and every move a team makes is magnified.
That’s a situation that favors the Nationals. Not only has Washington survived two previous winner-take-all games, but the Nats have essentially been playing with no margin for error since about June. The Astros, on the other hand, handled their one experience with a winner-take-all game well, as they eased past Tampa Bay, but that was helped by the Rays accidentally telegraphing their pitches. That’s not going to happen with a veteran ace-like Max Scherzer on the mound.
Blessing in Disguise
If you’d told the Nationals that they had to play one game with everything on the line, their first choice to start that game would be Scherzer. Heck, they’ve already faced that situation before in these playoffs in the wild card game, and that was the choice they made against Milwaukee. Well, thanks to Scherzer getting scratched in Game 5, that’s now the situation the Nats find themselves in. Obviously, they didn’t do this on purpose, as they would have undoubtedly preferred to have their ace win Game 5 and allow them to ride Stephen Strasburg to victory in the series, but that’s the hand the Nationals were dealt.
Now, can the Nats use that to their advantage? Scherzer is a massive security blanket to have at this stage, but the Nationals have to keep up the aggression that they showed in the first two games of the series. The only thing that seems consistent in this series is that as soon as you think you know what’s going to happen, that’s when things turn the other direction.
Home Field Disadvantage
For whatever reason, playing at home has meant absolutely nothing to either of these squads. For the Nationals, they left their offense in Houston, scoring just three runs in three games at home. For the Astros, the American League rules actually work against them because the Nationals are built around three top-tier starters, meaning that the Nats’ pitchers can throw without having to worry about being lifted for a pinch hit-ter.
The crowd would be nice to have on their side for either team, but the reality is that it’s not necessary to have the crowd on your side. In fact, it can actually be a slight hindrance; Overall, in 39 previous World Series have resulted in the road team holding a narrow margin (20-19) over the home team in this situation.
- The Astros are 8-0 in their past eight when they scored two runs or less in the previous game.
- The Astros have lost four straight interleague games against teams above .500.
- The Nationals have won their past seven playoff road games.
- The Nationals have won five of Scherzer’s past six against a team above .500.
- The over is 8-1-1 in the Nationals’ past ten interleague games.
- The over is 4-0 in the Astros’ past four World Series home games.
- The Nationals are 11-1 in the past 11 meetings in Houston.
A cloudy 70-degree night in Houston makes it a coin toss as to whether this game will be played under a roof or in the elements.
It’s hard to believe it, but we’re at the end of what’s been an incredible season of baseball and a classic World Series. These two teams have been a lot of fun to watch throughout the playoffs and have given us a great series. Only one can be champion, and I’m going to go with Washington here. A fair amount of luck often de-cides these games, and Washington hit its luck in spades with Scherzer being ready to go in the seventh game. This is the game that every baseball-loving kid dreams of playing in, and Scherzer has already shown once he can handle the moment.
So did Houston’s Zack Greinke, but the Astros have a couple of things working against them. First, there’s the home field issue, as the road team has been 6-0 in this series. Second, there’s the fact that the Nationals are more familiar with him than the Astros are with Scherzer. Remember, Greinke came from Arizona, meaning that many Nats hitters already faced him this season when they played the Diamondbacks, while Houston’s hitters never got to see Scherzer.
I think that edge is just enough for the Nats. Give me Washington, as the city attempts to become the City of Champions (and the Redskins) with a win.
STOP LOSING TODAY! START WINNING WITH DOC'S TEAM OF PROFESSIONALS! GET A FREE NO STRINGS ATTACHED $60 FOR THIS WEEKEND'S GAMES!