With the Astros @ White Sox Game 4 being postponed yesterday due to weather, our MLB picks have three massive games to preview for today, Tuesday, October 12th. The White Sox, Brewers and Dodgers are all facing elimination and need a win to extend their respective series to five games.
Look below to find our free MLB Picks for today’s three Division Series playoff games.
Houston Astros @ Chicago White Sox (Game 4) – 2.07pm EDT
With this game originally scheduled for yesterday but postponed due to bad weather, is it just delaying the inevitable for the Chicago White Sox? While they won Game Three to keep their season alive, the Houston Astros need just one win from the last two games and will be wanting to advance, especially since Boston is already through after beating Tampa Bay 3-1.
When previewing this game for yesterday, I had the White Sox coming out on top and levelling the series at 2-2. However, it is now a day later and Houston have changed their starting pitcher from Jose Urquidy to Lance McCullers Jr, which is clearly a massive upgrade. McCullers Jr started in Game One of the series and kept Chicago runless from 6.2 innings of work, in a game that Houston won 6-1. He has now faced the White Sox three times, including both regular season and playoffs, giving up just three runs across 19.2 of work in those games.
Given how good he has been this year, especially against the White Sox, that means that Carlos Rodon will have to be on top of his game in this one. I had him giving Chicago the advantage over Urquidy, but clearly things have changed since then. In saying that, Rodon faced Houston twice this season and kept them to just one run in 14 innings of work, highlighting that he is prepared for this matchup as well.
While McCullers Jr still has the edge in this matchup, Rodon can definitely hold his own and given the White Sox have their season on the line, facing elimination, I believe that they will show something this afternoon. I’m sticking with Chicago, but it will be close.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Chicago White Sox (-118)
“Don’t poke the bear.”
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 11, 2021
After waiting a day for this game, I can’t wait to see who will come out on top. The White Sox needed the win a couple of days ago to stay in the hunt, and it was a great win at that, with the final scoreline, 12-6. They will need to continue the momentum, as one slip up will cost them the chance to play in the fifth game of the series and the chance to move on to the next round of the postseason. After putting the White Sox in their place in the first two games, the Astros really got a taste of their own medicine in the third.
All games so far in this series have been pretty high scoring, and the White Sox will once again be feeding off the crowd to help them post a big enough score. The White Sox ability to get base hits is what is keeping them so competitive game after game. They will be looking for Robert to step up again, as he is having a good playoff run so far. Rondon is still the selected starting pitcher for the White Sox and he will be looking to utilize his slider, which has been his best pitch this season with a batting average of .107 along with a slugging percentage of .126.
The Astros have a very deep lineup, but need their offense to click into gear as this helps take the pressure off the pitching staff. The Astros are great at drawing out the walks, in fact they have drawn 13 walks in just three games, something that the White Sox will need to keep their eye on. The Astros will be looking to get the win here, to give the team and pitchers an opportunity to rest before moving to the next round.
I’m not too sure about Rondon for the White Sox, so I’m taking a punt on the Astros for this one. The Astros batters may very well overwhelm him and take him to town. With so much experience and depth in the Astros team, I’m expecting a win for the Astros on the road.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Houston Astros (+100)
After having game 4 postponed, the Astros finally get their chance to win the series and head onto the next stage of the playoffs where they will face the Red Sox. The White Sox did surprise us with a 12 run showing in game 3 and look to try to equalise the series and keep their playoff dreams alive. The Astros have averaged 7 runs per game against the White Sox in the playoffs, and it took an insane 12 run effort for them to beat the Astros.
The key for the White Sox will be subduing the potent Astros batting attack while stepping up and scoring as many runs as possible. Simple right? In this game the White Sox may have trouble outsourcing the Astros again as they face Lance McCullers Jr., who has been great in the playoffs with no runs allowed and 4 strikeouts in 6 innings against the White Sox. He is looking to replicate this performance once again. Even if McCullers can’t repeat this level of success, he should be able to hold the White Sox below 6 runs.
In order to try to subdue the Astros’ top ranked batting unit, the White Sox are starting Carlos Rodon. Rodon has been strong this season with a 2.37 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 132 innings. He had a quietly great season. Rodon fared well against the Astros in the regular season allowing just 1 run and getting 8 strikeouts. If Rodon can replicate this, we may be looking at an extremely low scoring match up in game 4.
Milwaukee Brewers @ Atlanta Braves (Game 4) – 5.15pm EDT
The defensive nature of this series continued in Game Three and the score matched Game Two, seeing the Atlanta Braves win 3-0. The Milwaukee Brewers now face elimination and will need to find a spark, considering they have only scored two total runs through three games.
Well, well, well.. Who would have predicted that the Braves would win back to back games and keep the Brewers scoreless over those two games. Milwaukee were a clear third best team in the National League, behind the Giants and Dodgers, but are now facing a road elimination game. Neither side has named their starting pitcher for this clash, at the time of writing, but Milwaukee will be hoping that Atlanta names one that they can actually score against.
The Brewers have an OPS of just 0.484 through the first three games of this series, being the clear worst batting unit of the remaining eight teams. They are the only team that aren’t averaging at least two runs per game in the postseason, and they aren’t even averaging one run per game! While the #2 seed in the conference should show some more fight than this, over the last 30 days of the regular season they were bottom six in the entire league in both OPS and total runs.
Atlanta’s bullpen has been strong all season, ranking top 10 for ERA, but they seem to have found the right mojo at the right time. In the postseason, they are the only team with an ERA under 2.00 and theirs is 0.69! But who are they going to select for a close-out Game Four, knowing they don’t want to go back to a hostile American Family Field for Game Five.
In saying that, I’m expecting Milwaukee to show something and extend the series. Their bullpen entered the postseason top three in the entire league and I’m expecting they will be able to restrict the Braves batting yet again. It is just whether their batting unit can find something, anything, enough, to simply score at least two runs, which I think should be enough…
Tim’s MLB Pick: Milwaukee Brewers +1.5 (-164)
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 11, 2021
A must win game for the Brewers, as the Braves won the third game 3-0, and took a 2-1 lead in the Division Series. The Brewers will have to do it the hard way, but playing on the road. It was a good start for the Brewers, who took out the first game, 2-1, but since then, they have been unable to put any more runs on the board, losing the second and third game 3-0. If it all comes to an end for the Brewers tonight, it would be a very disappointing way to end their season, especially considering how they played during the regular season.
The Brewers have just five hits in 31 at bats in the third game, and poor production at the plate is the main contributing factor for their woes so far in the postseason. But the Braves haven’t been running away with things either, which means their pitching is on point, and it will need to continue to be if the Brewers have any chance of taking this series to five games. The Brewers have averaged just 2.33 runs per game in their previous six with the Braves, but they have allowed an average of 5.50 runs per game in the same time frame.
It has been the home runs that have helped get the Braves across the line so far this postseason, and they will be looking for more of the same in this forth game. Pederson has been the stand out for the Braves with the bat, he has two home runs and four RBIs so far in this series. The pitching is where it is at for the Braves throughout the postseason so far, they have pitched 33 strikeouts versus six walks and have a team ERA of 0.07!
The Brewers have simply just lost their way, and I don’t think they will be able to get back on track for this game, especially considering they are playing on the road. Also, the Braves have won nine of their previous 10 games against a team that has a winning record, while the Brewers have won just two of their previous 13 when playing a team with a winning record. Those are some pretty telling stats, and I’m expecting more of the same tonight.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Atlanta Braves (-142)
The Braves have quietly been the best defense in the postseason, shutting out the Brewers two games in a row. Over their 3 playoff games, the Braves have allowed just 2 runs. This is the best mark of any team in the MLB, despite the fact the Braves are playing a Brewers team that was in the top half of the league in runs scored.
The Brewers defense has also been solid with just 7 total runs allowed in their 3 playoff games. However, due to their offensive deficiencies, the Brewers sit on the edge of getting kicked out of the playoffs. The Brewers will be leaning on their top 3 defense to try to equalize this series. The Brewers, more importantly, need their batting unit to step up and score. If the Brewers can’t score, it looks like their playoff run will be cut short.
The best market is certainly looking like it’ll be the unders in game 4. However, after 3 solid defensive efforts, I think one of these teams will slip up. When looking at the regular season, the total runs went over 8.5 4 out of their 6 meetings. I think we get a surprisingly high scoring game from the Braves’ 8th ranked batting unit and the Brewers.
San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 4) – 9.07pm EDT
The San Francisco Giants scored a single run in the fifth inning of Game Three and that was all that was needed to win the game and take a 2-1 series lead. The Los Angeles Dodgers now need to respond in tonight’s Game Four or the defending champs will see their season brought to a close, but can they do it?
Is there something worrying going on with LA’s batting lineup? Through four postseason games they have scored nine in one, three in another and then been shut out in the other two, both against the Giants. San Francisco has an incredible bullpen, but LA’s batting lineup was a top five unit during the regular season and that improved to top three over the last 30 days of the regular season.
They now have their backs against the wall, hosting the Giants in a win-or-go-home for themselves, knowing San Francisco has the luxury of being able to lose and return home to host Game Five. Because of this, I expect the Dodgers to get their act together on the offensive side of the ball and extend the series. The defending champs are too talented and have invested too much into this series for it to end at this stage, haven’t they?
However, the Giants have planned for this, knowing that they will have to knock off the Dodgers in order to advance. Their bullpen has brought their A-game all season and they have been able to shut-out the Dodgers twice in this series, but it is whether they can seal the deal in LA tonight. I don’t think they have the experience or mental edge to do so, and the Dodgers look to be in a good position to keep their season alive.
Tim’s MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers (-142)
The Giants are the 3rd team to post 2 shutouts in a best-of-5 playoff series against the team that led their league in runs per game during the regular season.
The Dodgers led the NL with 5.12 runs per game. pic.twitter.com/3EaFuDdkWl
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 12, 2021
A pretty disappointing loss for the Dodgers last time out, especially considering they were playing in front of a packed home crowd. The Dodgers still have one more home game to try and level the series 2-2. If the Dodgers can do that, then they will be going back to Giants home territory for the fifth and final game.
The Giants are currently second favorites, according to Fanduel, to take out the World Series. It is the Astros who are the favorite, but they have already advanced to the Championship Series. The Giants had the best regular season record and this was partly due to their pitching staff, which ranked second in the league with a 3.24 ERA. The Giants were played second in the league with the number of homers hit, at 241, and were sixth in terms of team batting average, at .249. The Giants are such a well rounded and dominant team, it is hard to see which team will be able to take enough games off them in a series to knock them out of the playoffs.
The Giants had the second best ERA in the league, but who had the best? The Dodges of course! The Dodgers had a league best team ERA of 3.01, and they finished in 10th spot in the league when it came to the team batting average, at .244. A massive blow to the Dodgers, Muncy will be out due to a left elbow injury at least until the end of October. He had 36 home runs and a RBI of 94 throughout the regular season.
I’m going to stick with the Dodgers here, they had a couple of opportunities in the last game, but they just couldn’t take advantage of them. All the Dodgers need is just one or two things to go their way and they could easily take this series to a fifth and final game. It’s hard to make a definitive pick without knowing who both the starters will be for this game. But if forced to choose now, it would be the Dodgers.
Katherine’s MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers (-142)
After stealing a game in San Francisco, the Dodgers let game 3 go. Despite a gargantuan effort by Max Scherzer where he allowed just 1 run and had 10 strikeouts in 7 innings, the Dodgers still managed to lose and give the Giants the series lead. The Dodgers’ 4th ranked batting unit wasn’t able to muster up a single run in this crucial game. This was a surprise after the Dodgers lit up the scoreboard in game 2 with 9 runs. Going into game 4 the Dodgers will aren’t too worried defensively as they have only allowed an average of 2 runs per game in the playoffs. The biggest concern will definitely be the team’s hitting. The Dodgers hitting was atrocious and is the second time this series that the Dodgers haven’t scored a run. This is a worrying trend as the Dodgers fight for their playoff lives in game 4. I think we see the Dodgers hitters bounce back like they did in game 2. I think the series goes to 5, and will trust a batting unit that has delivered all year until now.
Mike’s MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers (-142)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.