World Series Game 2 preview: Braves to hang around early
The Atlanta Braves played their first World Series game since 1999 on Tuesday night - and they sure made noise.
Unfortunately, the bats went silent the rest of the way. The Braves added just one run in the final seven innings en route to a 6-2 win, putting us one run shy of hitting the over (8.5).
Like the Astros, we'll look to bounce back tonight in Game 2.
The Braves have to feel very good about their chances of carrying the positive momentum forward tonight, at least in the early going. The pitching matchup appears to favor them in more ways than one.
Max Fried is one of the better pitchers in the sport, and he's throwing very well right now. He owns a 2.88 FIP since the Braves entered "playoff mode" at the beginning of September.
He's done a fantastic job keeping balls down, posting a ridiculous ground-ball rate just shy of 60%. Fried is also giving up very little hard contact, holding opponents to a 23% hard-hit rate.
Fried's go-to pitch is a four-seam fastball, which Houston admittedly hits well. But he also relies heavily on his curveball and slider - two pitches the Astros struggle against.
Only one of Houston's everyday starters - Kyle Tucker - posted a wOBA above .330 versus the curve this season. The Astros are a little better against the slider, but Yordan Alvarez (.426 wOBA) is their only player to post better than a .360 wOBA against it.
Fried's hot hand and Houston's struggles against both of his prominent off-speed pitches should allow him to slow the Astros' offense for a handful of innings.
If he does that, the Braves should be in good shape through the first half of the game. Jose Urquidy is nowhere close to Fried's caliber, and his stuff doesn't profile well against Atlanta's bats.
Urquidy is ultra-reliant on his four-seamer, throwing it nearly 55% of the time. Five of the Braves' projected starters posted wOBAs above .370 against four-seamers during the regular season, and seven posted hard-hit rates above 47%. While Urquidy will likely try to mix in more off-speed stuff, his four-seamer will remain his featured pitch. That spells trouble.
Don't rule out Houston's bats coming to life to help the Astros steal this game after Fried leaves. But we like the Braves' chances of keeping things tied - or holding the lead - after five.
Bets: Braves F5 +0.5 (-140)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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