Christian Walker, Max Scherzer and Run Total Prop Bets for Game 3 of the World Series

The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t waste much time Saturday displaying the resiliency that’s turned them into the most surprising World Series team of the century. 

The Diamondbacks’ 9-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night evened the World Series at a game apiece and made them the first team to win Game 2 after losing Game 1 by surrendering a game-tying or go-ahead ninth-inning homer.

Paul Sewald joined a lonely club when he served up the game-tying two-run to Corey Seager in the ninth inning of the Rangers’ 6-5, 11-inning win on Friday. But the Diamondbacks minimized the fallout by pounding out 16 hits and piling on Texas for seven runs over the final three innings in Game 2.

The 1988 Oakland Athletics, who fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers when gimpy-legged Kirk Gibson hit one of the most famous two-run homers in history to give the hosts a 5-4 walk-off win, and the 2015 New York Mets, who lost to the Kansas City Royals 5-4 in 14 innings after Alex Gordon forced extras with a ninth-inning solo shot off Jeurys Familia, each dropped Game 2 on their way to losing the World Series in five games.

The Rangers have thrived on the road this month, so the Diamondbacks could still suffer a similar five-game fate. But this feels like a series that will conclude in Texas this weekend — and tonight’s Game 3 feels like another opportunity for Arizona to exhibit its peskiness. 

Here are three Diamondbacks-themed prop bets for tonight. All odds as of Monday afternoon from FanDuel

Max Scherzer U4.5 strikeouts (-122)

Only 10 pitchers in history have struck out more batters in regular season action than Scherzer, whose 2,834 2/3 career innings are the second-fewest of anyone who has ever whiffed 3,000 batters.

But the 16th MLB season for the 39-year-old Scherzer has played out more like a game of Operation. The future Hall of Famer dealt with shoulder and neck injuries while pitching for the New York Mets and had a forearm scare before missing the final two-plus weeks of the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs with a teres major strain in his right shoulder. He also said he pitched through a cut on his right thumb after pitching 2 2/3 innings in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Almost as importantly for our purposes here, Scherzer has not been a strikeout machine in his recent postseason outings. He has recorded four or fewer strikeouts in both of his starts this month and in five of his last seven postseason starts dating back to Game 7 of the 2019 World Series.

Even a diminished and vulnerable Scherzer is still dangerous. He struck out at least six batters in 13 of his final 16 regular season outings with the Mets and Rangers. So none of us should be surprised if he authors a throwback performance on the big stage.

But with the Rangers’ bullpen as close to fully rested as it will get at this time of season — the only reliever to record more than two outs in Saturday’s lopsided loss was mop-up man Martin Perez, who hadn’t pitched since Oct. 19 — manager Bruce Bochy will surely pull Scherzer at the first sign of trouble and begin the mixing-and-matching process. Scherzer exiting with fewer than five whiffs feels like a reasonably safe bet.

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Christian Walker to record 3+ total bases (+250)

The Diamondbacks are hitting .308 through two games — and .333 outside of Walker, who is 1-for-9 with a single. The only other Arizona regular with just one hit in the first two games is catcher Gabriel Moreno, who homered in Game 2.

So Walker is overdue for a bit of a breakout — especially at home, where he was more prolific in 2023 regular season action (a .271 average with 37 extra-base hits) than he was on the road (a .246 hitter with 34 extra-base hits). He also hit .294 with three homers in just 17 regular season at-bats this year against the Rangers.

Walker has only three career at-bats against Scherzer, but he went deep against the right-hander on July 4, when Scherzer was still with the Mets. With Walker almost sure to get at least one at-bat against Scherzer and the conditions ripe for another high-scoring game, look for Walker to get in on the fun.

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Over 9.5 runs (-102)

This one is a bit of a coin toss. More than 10 runs have been scored in just one of the Diamondbacks’ four home playoff games so far while the Rangers and their opponents have combined for at least 10 runs in four of Texas’ right road games. 

But the trends are suggesting a slugfest tonight. In addition to the two teams combining for 21 runs in the first two games of the World Series, Texas outscored the Houston Astros 20-6 in Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park. 

In addition, Scherzer has posted an 11.12 ERA in his last three postseason starts and Diamondbacks rookie Brandon Pfaadt, who has a 1.29 ERA in his last three games after opening his career with a 6.58 ERA in his first 20 appearances, is due for a bit of a regression. There will be no shortage of offense in a lengthy game tonight — and no shortage of coffee consumed tomorrow mornings by those tuning in.

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