The Houston Astros stunned the Seattle Mariners in Game 1 of their ALDS as Yordan Alvarez hit one of the most unlikely home runs in playoff history, a walk-off three-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth off 2021 Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. The Astros had been 0-48 in their postseason history when trailing by multiple runs after eight innings. Game 2 is this afternoon from Houston with the home side a -155 favorite. At BetMGM, 76% of the money is on the Astros and 54% of the tickets.
How rare was Alvarez's dinger? It was just the second walk-off homer in postseason history by a team down to its final out. The other was Kirk Gibson's epic walk-off shot off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. It was the first game-ending playoff shot by a team that was trailing at the time since Joe Carter's homer that won Toronto the 1993 World Series. The Astros now have seven walk-off homers in their postseason history. Only the Yankees (12) have more.
The day off in between Game 1 and 2 probably helped the Mariners, who had to be devastated after blowing a 7-3 lead in the eighth inning. It was definitely a curious call by Manager Scott Servais to pull closer Paul Sewald, a right-hander, for Ray, a lefty starter, to face Alvarez. During the regular season, Sewald faced 107 left-handed batters, and they hit .167 off him with a .589 OPS. Ray faced 146 lefties, and they hit .212 off him with a .647 OPS.
"I was just trying to get the sinker in on him," Ray said. "Just didn't get there. ... Just frustrating."
Seattle turns to trade acquisition Luis Castillo today. The right-hander was 8-6 with a 2.99 ERA overall this year and 4-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts with the Mariners. He didn't face Houston. Castillo was brilliant in the Wild Card round in Toronto, shutting out the high-powered Blue Jays on six hits over 7.1 innings. Castillo is set at over/under 5.5 strikeouts, 17.5 outs recorded, 4.5 hits allowed and 1.5 earned runs. Alvarez is 1-for-3 career off Castillo and is +290 to go yard tonight.
It's lefty Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82 ERA) for Houston. He had a 26-start streak of quality starts snapped on Sept. 24 in Baltimore. He also struggled Sept. 30 vs. the Rays, but closed the regular season with five shutout innings vs. the Phillies. Valdez was 1-0 with a 3.95 ERA in two starts this year against Seattle. He is set at over/under 5.5 strikeouts, 17.5 outs recorded, 4.5 hits allowed and 1.5 earned runs -- the same as Castillo, but some of the prices are different.
The total has risen from an open of 6.5 to 7 and 66% of the money is on the Under, but only 34% of the bets.
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