The Braves won on Friday to take a series lead of 2-1. Can the Astros answer in Game 4? Read this article to see our Astros at Braves picks.
Ian Anderson and the Braves bullpen dictated the pace in Game 3 while bringing a no-hit bid into the 8th inning. They kept a very strong Houston lineup off-balance for the entire game. The Astros need to wake up the bats soon before it’s too late.
Let’s take a look at the game preview and MLB betting odds for Game 4 of the World Series.
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Braves Preview: Left-Handed Hitters Need to Make an Early Statement
At this point in his career, Zack Greinke is not the same pitcher that he once was. While he still has the tools to be effective, the right-hander does not have the overpowering stuff he once featured. Dusty Baker is hopeful Greinke can give him a decent amount of innings in this one to save the bullpen.
However, the Braves need to make it a priority to get him out of this ballgame as early as possible.
Expect the top of the order left-handed hitters to be aggressive and take meaningful swings early in counts to put pressure on Greinke. Expect Eddie Rosario, Freddie Freeman, and Ozzie Albies all to ambush Greinke and try to put some early runs on the board.
There has been no starting pitcher yet announced for Atlanta, but it is likely to be a bullpen game for the Braves. Their relief core has looked terrific in the series, so the Braves are certainly in good hands.
Astros Preview: Make Productive Outs
Yes, the game plan for the Astros from an offensive perspective revolves around making outs. However, this does not mean that striking out is a good thing. Instead, when there is a runner on second base and less than two outs, the Astros need to advance that runner to third base instead of trying to crush the ball 450 feet to dead center.
A ground ball to the right side would suffice in that situation.
This is a lineup that often swings for the fences, but they need to realize that every run means something, so manufacturing them by any means necessary is of the utmost importance in Game 4.
Contrary to popular opinion, I actually like Zack Greinke in this start. I don’t expect him to carve up the Braves lineup, but Greinke is a guy who can limit the damage. If the Astros offense can hold up their share of the bargain, Greinke should put Houston in a good position to win this ballgame.
Game 4 Players to Watch
Travis d’Arnaud has been a godsend in this series so far, as the catcher is hitting over .400 through the first three games, including home runs in back-to-back games. While he is not the guy, who is expected to carry this lineup, having a catcher near the bottom of the order who can produce on offense is a major advantage.
The Astros do not have that same luxury as their primary catcher; Martin Maldonado is hitting an abysmal .125 through the first three games.
But the Astros do have Alex Bregman. Bregman had been dreadful through the first two games, as the third baseman was 0-7. However, he turned a corner on Friday as he went 1-2 with a walk.
What impressed me the most was that his base hit came on a ground ball through the right side of the infield to defy the shift the Braves had on him. This tells me that he is willing to make the necessary adjustments to help his team win. We saw a struggling Cody Bellinger make the same exact transition in the postseason, and he became one of the Dodgers’ best hitters in the playoffs.
If Bregman is able to maintain that mindset heading into Game 4, he will play a crucial role for the Astros.
Prediction: Who Wins Game 4?
This series is evenly matched. I expect these teams to continue trading wins in Game 4, as my MLB betting pick is for the Astros to earn the victory on Saturday and once again even the series.
Look for the Houston offense to wake up and score some runs in this ballgame.