Major League Baseball playoff action on Tuesday evening and the American League West will duke it out with the American League East as the Houston Astros tangle with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida. The Rays avoided being swept on Monday as they won by a score of 10-3.
Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA) gets the nod for the Astros while the Rays will be sending out Diego Castillo (5-8, 3.41 ERA).
Greinke Takes An Early ShowerZack Greinke came over from Arizona at the trade deadline and he was 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts for the Astros. His play from the regular season did not carry over in his first playoff appearance this year as he was sent to the showers early. On Monday afternoon, the Rays knocked him around as Greinke allowed six ERs on five hits and a walk in just 3.2 innings of work in a 10-3 Tampa Bay win, Greinke allowed three homers in the contest. The Astros had won their previous five games in a row and they had allowed just 15 total runs in their previous eight games. Can the Astros get back on track and end this series tonight? We shall see.
We do note that the Astros have not lost two games in a row since losing three to the A's back on Sept 10th to the 12th. The offense had been humming for the Astros as well, but all they could muster was the three runs in the loss while striking out 13 times. Yuli Guriel led the attack with two hits and two RBIs while Jose Altuve had their lone homer of the game, It was his 2nd of the postseason. The Astros are now at 48-34 on the road for the year and they have averaged 5.32 rpg and have allowed 3.93 rpg in those games.
Taking the hill for the Astros will be Justin Verlander and he went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 34 starts during the regular season, including 8-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 11 day starts and 11-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 17 starts on the road. In his career, he has gone 112-68 with a 3.57 ERA in 228 starts on the road and 88-40 with a 3.12 ERA in 166 starts in the daytime, plus 14-7 with a 3.05 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) in the postseason, including 8-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 12 games (11 starts0 in the ALDS. Verlander allowed just one hit and three walks while striking out eight in seven innings of work in a 6-2 win in game one of this series.
The Astros were solid on offense during the regular season as they ranked 3rd in the league in scoring, putting up 5.68 rpg, while also ranking 1st in hitting at .274 and 3rd in homers with 288. On the mound, they were strong as they ranked 3rd in the league in ERA at 3.68, while also ranking 2nd in WHIP at 1.13 and 1st in K’s with 1671. Their pen finished 2nd in ERA at 3.75.
Rays Live To Fight Another DayThe Tanpa Bay Rays were down 2-0 in this series as the scene shifted to Tampa and they were crushed in the two games, but the Rays returned the favor with a 10-3 win in game three. The Rays were outscored 18-6 in the first two games of this series. The Rays had lost four of their previous five games overall, but now they have live to fight another day as they extended the series to a 4th game. Tampa hopes to take advantage of their extra life, but it will not be easy as they are Facing Justin Verlander in this game and he is a perfect 8-0 in the ALDS in his career. Can the Rays pull off a big upset and send this game back to Houston for a deciding game five? You'll have to read further to find out.
The Rays' offense had been held in check as they scored 12 runs in their five games prior to Monday, but they were able to hang 10 runs in game three to keep their hopes alive leading their attack in the contest was Kevin Kiermaier, who had three RBIs, while Willy Adames had three hits and an RBI. It was a homer fest for the Rays as Ji-Man Choi, Brandon Lowe, Kiermaier, Willy Adames all went deep in the contest. Grabbing the win was Charlie Morton, who allowed one ER on three hits and two walks while striking out nine in 5.0 innings of work. The Rays are now at 49-33 heer at home for the year.
Tampa Bay will be sending out Diego Castillo and he has gone 5-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 65 games (six starts on the year, including 5-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 35 games (three starts) here at home and 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in his six games as a starter. He has only been used as an opener in those six starts. In his career, he has pitched eight career innings against the Astros and he has allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks with four Ks in those innings.
The Rays were below average on offense so far as they come in ranked 18th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.75 rpg, while also ranking 12th in hitting at .254 and 21st in homers with 2171. On the mound, they have been very strong as they rank 2nd in the league in ERA at 3.67 while also ranking 3rd in WHIP at 1.17 and 3rd in K’s with 1621. Their pen ranks 1st in ERA at 3.71.
Tanpa Bay is:
- 9-18 in their last 27 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- 2-8 in their last 10 Divisional Playoff games
- 8-1 in their last 9 during game 4 of a series
- 6-1 in their last 7 Divisional Playoff games