Yankees Unbeaten at Home in Playoffs, but Astros Are Smart Play

Mark Lathrop

Monday, October 16, 2017 3:40 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 3:40 PM UTC

SBR's MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop lucked out with late-game heroics cashing his ticket on the Dodgers Sunday night. In Game 3 of the ALCS, he doesn't believe those heroics will be necessary as he makes his Monday MLB Pick of the Day.

2017 MLB Season Record: 221-197-11 (+9.39 units)

Houston Astros at New York Yankees

Late inning heroics cashed my Game 2 pick on the Dodgers last night against the Cubs in the NLDS as Justin Turner decided that I should be a winner Sunday. It is a good reminder that the margin of error in playoff baseball is small and wagering should be disciplined. Mine and probably your last two picks have been won or lost in the last at-bats of the game.

We turn now to Game 3 of the American League Championship Series with the Houston Astros up 2-0 on the New York Yankees and headed to the Bronx for the first time. From the outside, it looks as if the Astros should be heavily favored in this game. They have won 6 of their last 7 games and have scored an average of 4.6 runs with a team batting average of .286. On the other hand, the Yankees have won 3 out of their last 7 games, scored 3.3 runs per game and have batted just .190 as a team over that span. However, the public darling of the Yankees have them favored at home at -135 on the moneyline at Intertops, while the Astros can be found as a +126 underdog at 5Dimes.

Charlie Morton starts this game for the Astros, and he has been very strong since returning to the rotation in July after missing time in June. In the first half of the season he was running a 9.61 K/9, 3.53 BB/9 and 1.13 HR/9 rate – actually very acceptable numbers. However, in the second half of the season he was exceptional with a 10.30 K/9, 2.71 BB/9 and 0.65 HR/9 rate. The more traditional metrics also agree with that consensus, and Morton has run an identical and elite 2.59 FIP in both August and September. He is also tough to hit under pressure, with his WHIP dropping from 1.32 to 0.96 when he gets a man in scoring position and carrying a 2.25 FIP in high leverage situations.

The Yankees will turn to their 37-year old veteran CC Sabathia to turn the tide in this series. In a few ways, Sabathia is having the worst year of his career and is definitely not as dominant as in years past. This is most evident in his strikeout rates with Sabathia transforming himself into more of a crafty junk-ball thrower. His FIP of 4.49 is average at best, and his HR/FB rate of 24.0% over the second half of the season is downright alarming.

Houston is the better team in this series and tonight I don’t believe it will come down to the last at-bat to prove that fact. Getting them at plus odds in any game at this point is a gift.

Free MLB Pick: Astros +126Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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