The sportsbooks have released their betting odds for Game 1 of the World Series between Arizona and Texas, and I recommend that you play the Rangers ML.
This recommendation is backed by OddsTrader’s computer AI and by my handicapping.
Top MLB Pick
Friday, October 27, 2023 – 08:03 PM EDT at Globe Life Field
Our computers project a Texas victory, and I agree.
Accordingly, you should play the Rangers ML.
Zac Gallen (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Arizona starts Zac Gallen on Friday.
Arguments in favor of Gallen rely on his regular season ERA, which is better than Eovaldi’s, and on his general reputation as a good pitcher.
I don’t deny that Gallen, overall, had a stronger regular season than Eovaldi and that, overall, he is a good pitcher. However, these considerations simply aren’t relevant to the outcome of Friday’s game.
A comparison of each starting pitcher’s regular season success is irrelevant because the season is very long.
How a pitcher performs in preceding months will often vary from how he performs in later months.
What matters for Friday’s game is that, at the moment, Gallen is consistently displaying a weaker version of himself. His form is poor; he is struggling to pitch well. Gallen has allowed a combined total of nine earned runs in his last two games.
Among other things, he has developed a problem with keeping the ball inside the ballpark. During this two-game stretch, he’s allowed five home runs. Currently, his postseason ERA sits at 5.24, which is awful.
Gallen’s worst postseason start took place two starts ago, in Philadelphia, in which he allowed five earned runs in five innings.
It is not a coincidence that his worst postseason start took place on the road. Overall, he is worse in away games than he is at home.
A fact that constitutes proof that arguments relying on his regular season success is disingenuous is that, in the regular season, his road ERA was 4.42 whereas his home ERA was 2.47
Evidently, his season-long road struggles have carried into the postseason.
In descending order of frequency, Gallen primarily throws a fastball, curveball, changeup, and cutter. These pitches combine for over 96% of his arsenal.
When he struggles, it’s often due to opposing batters taking advantage of his mistakes with location. Heat maps illustrate especially the susceptibility of his fastball to land in the more middle parts of the strike zone where batters tend to do greater damage.
His fastball is his favorite pitch to throw, so Texas batters will often see pitches located in spots that they like.
As important as the problems with Gallen’s arsenal is the type of pitches themselves – the Rangers love to hit them. Texas ranks sixth with a .456 slugging rate against Gallen’s favorite pitches from righties.
In his career against Gallen, Seager is 7-for-21 with a double, while Semien is 5-for-8 with two doubles with Gallen on the mound.
Nathan Eovaldi (Texas Rangers)
Texas starts Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has constructed a stronger postseason resume than Gallen, which attests to the stronger quality of his current form.
Currently, Eovaldi’s postseason ERA sits at 2.42.
His worst start was on October 16 when he allowed three runs in six innings in Houston, which isn’t so bad. Otherwise, he’s been solid, allowing a combined total of four runs in his three other starts.
Unsurprisingly, his best start took place at home, where he allowed one run in seven innings against Baltimore. His ability to thrive at home will contrast with Gallen’s struggle to survive on the road.
Primarily, Eovaldi throws the following pitches in descending order of frequency: fastball, splitter, cutter, and curveball. These pitches combine to make up 96% of his arsenal.
As heat maps show, he does a much better job than Gallen of distributing his pitches along different parts of the strike zone, of hitting the boundaries of the strike zone, and of avoiding the middle parts of the strike zone. His comfort in locating his pitches in different locations helps keep him less predictable.
Moreover, this comfort allows him to play his pitches well off each other. For example, he’ll ably elevate his fastball before dropping a splitter. In doing so, he changes the eye-level of the batter, keeping his opponent off-balance.
Eovaldi matches up much better against Arizona’s lineup than Gallen does against Texas’.
The Diamondbacks rank 20th, with a slugging rate well below average, against Eovaldi’s pitches from righties.
Hindered by Eovaldi, they will not keep pace with Texas’ hitting.
MLB Pick: Rangers ML (-165) at Bet365
*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.