Astros vs. Phillies Prediction and Odds for World Series Game 3 (Houston Steals Back Home Field Advantage)
By Ben Heisler
The Houston Astros lost their home field advantage in the World Series after failing to protect a 5-0 lead in Game 1 with the projected AL Cy Young winner on the mound in Justin Verlander.
After taking down the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 to even the series, they'll look to take a 2-1 advantage on the road in Game 3 Tuesday evening from a raucous Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Following Monday's postponement, Lance McCullers Jr. remains set to make his third start of the postseason for the Astros. He's opposed by Phillies left-hander Ranger Suarez, getting the start instead of Monday's probable starter Noah Syndergaard.
Winning Game 3 has proven to be a nice historical trend for winning the World Series, as 68 of 98 teams (69%) in best-of-seven MLB series go onto win the Fall Classic.
Here's how the odds set up for Game 3 in Philadelphia:
Astros vs. Phillies Odds, Run Line and Total
Astros vs. Phillies Prediction and Pick
I picked the Phillies to win the World Series this year, and while I still believe they're in a good position to pull off the series upset, even with the move from Syndergaard to Suarez, I'm not sure tonight works in their favor.
Suarez has been terrific this postseason, going 1-0 with a 1.87 ERA, but his advanced numbers indicate he could start to get hit hard sooner rather than later. Despite the sparking ERA, Suarez owns a 4.46 Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, just over 2.61 runs higher than his earned run average.
The Astros have also been tough on left-handed pitching all season, ranking third in all of baseball in team weighted-on-base-average, or wOBA vs. lefties at .340, along with the league's lowest strikeout percentage (17.4%). Suarez isn't a strikeout pitcher, using his heavy sink and pitching to contact, but the Astros can also make hard contact, and if the Phillies' southpaw leaves mistakes over the heart of the plate, it could end up being costly early on.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson has been masterful in managing his bullpen throughout the playoffs, and he'll need to have that same magic touch tonight to have a shot at pulling off the slight upset. If it becomes a bullpen game, the Phillies' pen ranked eighth-worst in baseball in reliever ERA this season at 4.27., and were third-worst in walks-per-nine-innings (BB/9).
The key question on Houston's side is which Lance McCullers Jr. shows up tonight? His first postseason start vs. the Seattle Mariners was absolutely dominant, going six strong shutout innings in the ALDS with only two hits allowed and seven strikeouts. In his falling start vs. the New York Yankees, McCullers grinded out five innings, but allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits.
McCullers also has some familiarity with this Phillies lineup. In his final start of the regular season, he looked sharp vs. Philly; allowing just one run in six innings which came off a solo home run.
While familiarity normally favors the hitters, McCullers should have the confidence he needs against a dangerous Philadelphia lineup tonight, after already facing them just several weeks ago and pitching well. His ability to give them more length, along with the better overall bullpen offers the Astros the edge in Game 3.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.