2019 MLB – Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays Preview & Prediction

THE FACTS

When is Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays taking place? Tuesday 8th October, 2019 – 21:15 (UK)

Where is Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays taking place? Tropicana Field

What is the expected weather for Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays? Thunderstorms, 28c

What television channel is Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays on? BT Sport 1 in the UK / Fox Sports 1 in the US

Where can I stream Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays? BT Sport subscribers can stream the match live via the BT Sport website or app in the UK / Fox Sports GO, MLB.tv in the US

Where can I get tickets for Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays? https://www.mlb.com/tickets/season-tickets

What was the outcome in the last meeting? Houston Astros 3 – 10 Tampa Bay Rays

THE TEAM NEWS

TAMPA BAY RAYS

  • The Rays came out of nowhere to pull one back in the ALDS against the Houston Astros, bouncing back from a one-run homer in the first inning to produce their best offensive output of the postseason thus far with 10 runs scored and 12 hits, including four home runs and six extra-base hits.
  • Eric Sogard once again stayed on the bench and the team is treating him as day-to-day, so his availability for Game 4 remains unclear as he hasn’t been able to play a regular role in the ALDS so far. Yandy Diaz is also questionable for Tuesday’s contest. Kevin Kiermaier is one player to watch for the Rays, as he was the offensive catalyst for Tampa Bay with a three-run home run in the second inning that put the Rays up for good.
  • The Rays will have a bullpen game for the Game 4 of the ALDS and while there is not a lot of clarity on how pitchers will be handled in this scenario, the only thing that’s clear is that Diego Castillo will “open” Game 4. They have not announced which other pitchers will follow him, but Castillo posted a 3.41 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 68.2 innings during the regular season.

HOUSTON ASTROS

  • The Astros could not repeat what they did at home in the first two games of the series and while they kicked things off early with a solo home run by Jose Altuve, they couldn’t do much afterwards and were limited to just three runs and seven hits – both were worst marks during the current ALDS. For what it's worth, the Astros went 47-34 away from home during the regular season, the second-best record in the American League, so if any team can win on the road it’s them.
  • Some of Houston's names in the injury list are Colin McHugh and Lance McCullers but they won’t return to action until next year. Alex Bregman continues to be Houston’s hottest hitter during the ALDS – he is hitting for .500 after going 1-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks on Monday.
  • Justin Verlander will get the nod for Game 4 of the series, although it should be noted that the veteran will pitch on three days' rest Tuesday after tossing seven scoreless innings in Game 1 on Friday. The Al-Cy Young candidate was the consensus top pitcher in the American League this season and posted a 2.58 ERA with a 0.80 WHIP during the regular season.

THE PREDICTION

The Rays are used to “bullpen games” so the fact that they are starting a reliever and using a whole day of bullpen pitchers shouldn’t surprise anyone – it’s one of the reasons why they managed to get into the postseason in the first place. They might have the edge of being at home, but the Astros were one of the top teams on the road in the 2019 regular season and they will have Verlander on the mound, a pitcher that already threw seven scoreless innings against the Rays in Game 1 of the ALDS. The Astros shouldn’t have major problems to close the series out on Tuesday.

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