Twice this week, we've bounced back from 0-fers to post a two-for-two day. It happened again Friday with the Astros coming from behind and the Dodgers and Braves cooperating late to beat the over by a half run, running my record this postseason to 17-14. Call me the comeback kid! I'm tasked with a tall order now on this fine Saturday. All four teams are likely looking at these games as must-win, relievers have been completely overworked and the offensive outbursts have been rather unpredictable. It's tough, but we aren't scared. We thrive on this. Bring it.
NLCS Game 6
L.A. Dodgers (-1.5)
ALCS Game 7
Tampa Bay (-1.5)
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
There's very little behind "no team down 0-3 who came back to force Game 7 has ever lost" since it was one time 16 years ago. I do think, however, there's something behind the mentality. This is a game that requires incredible mental toughness. It's a team sport, sure, but every act is individual. The errors made, a batter striking out in a big spot, a baserunning blunder, a pitcher walking the bases loaded ... all of that puts a player on an island. Mentality matters. I can't imagine how the Rays feel right now, staring down the barrel of dubious history and possibly blowing a 3-0 LCS lead. They are set up pretty well with how the pitching lines up, but that was also the case in Game 6 and the Astros took down one of the heads of the three-headed monster of ace relievers, just as they did in Game 5 when Carlos Correa walked off Nick Anderson. The Astros are going to ride this wave. Join in and make some money.
Speaking of riding the wave, there's something in the air in these League Championship Series this season. The team facing elimination in either series is now 4-0. That's a lot more coincidence than trend and it's mostly on one side, but I'll reiterate a point I've made throughout the series: The Dodgers are the better team here. There isn't much disputing it in looking at the rosters, the regular season record, the run differential, etc. That doesn't mean the Braves can't win the series. Not in the least. They very well could. I'm just counting on the Dodgers talent at least pushing this thing to Game 7. They are favored, so we'll pass on the money line and play the run line with them winning by at least two.
Bonus: Jose Altuve homers +350
We're in a funk here on the bonus, but these are longshot picks and that's bound to happen. My reasoning on picking Altuve to homer in Game 6 was sound and he only missed by a few feet on a double to left field. He's hitting .364 with a .750 slugging and five homers this postseason. This series? .455 with a .950 slugging and three homers. He's seen every pitcher the Rays are going use in Game 7 at some point this series. It's as good a pick as any.