After being down 0-2 in a best of five series to the best team in baseball, the Rays are on the brink of sending the Astros home for the season. If the Rays pull off this upset this would have to be considered one of the biggest upsets in the baseball playoffs in a long time.
The Astros although playing at home as the favorite have all the pressure on them. This is the first elimination game that the the Astros have played this postseason, while the Rays will have played in four elimination games counting tonight’s game.
The Rays are 3-0 in those elimination games.
Tyler Glasnow will get the start for the Rays and Gerrit Cole will pitch for the Astros. Glasnow started game 1 of the series allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts in four and 1/3 innings.
Cole was lights out in game two throwing 118 pitches, striking out 15 and allowing four hits over seven and 2/3 innings.
The Rays led the league in pitching during the regular season and we saw over the last couple of games that was no fluke. The Rays have a 2.38 ERA in the post season. With the great pitching performances by Verlander and Cole in games one and two, the Astros have a 4.15 ERA.
The Rays will also have Blake Snell available in relief tonight. Glasnow will be limited to 70-90 pitches and depending on how early in the game Glasnow reaches his pitch count limit, the Rays could turn to Blake Snell to get them into the late innings.
Charlie Morton will also be available if needed tonight.
If the Rays can get to Cole early and limit Cole to four or five innings, that would play into the Rays favor as the Astros bullpen has been a liability during the season and was not good in the two games in Tampa.
The Rays offense appears to have gotten untracked as they were able to put up 14 runs in two games at Tropicana Field. The Rays, not known for their power hit six home runs in the two games and have ten in the postseason.
The Rays were able to pound out 12 hits in the 10-3 win Monday, and had 13 hits in the 4-1 win on Tuesday.
With the Rays hitting coming around, it will be imperative that the Rays turn those hits into runs and not leave a lot of those runners on base. The Rays left 13 on base in the 4-1 win on Tuesday and have left 19 runners on base in the last two games.
Playing on the road in a loud, raucous environment getting those runners across home plate will be a key to winning this game for the Rays.
No moment has been to big for this young Rays team so far this season. The Rays although playing loose have had a very business like approach to the series.
This is the first time this season that the Astros have had to play under any pressure. The Rays have played in three high pressure game the last ten days and have come away with a victory in all three.
Cole is a tough pitcher, one of the best in baseball. Now that the Rays have already seen him in the series, he wont be as dominating as he was in game two.
This game will be a nail biter. There will be a lot of stressful moments for Rays fans.
I Like the Rays chances to win in Houston tonight and move on to play the Yankees in the ALCS.