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

THE FACTS

When is Tampa Bay Rays @ Houston Astros taking place? Friday 11th October, 2019 – 00:07 (UK)

Where is Tampa Bay Rays @ Houston Astros taking place? Minute Maid Park

What is the expected weather for Tampa Bay Rays @ Houston Astros? Mostly sunny, 31c

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

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

What was the outcome in the last meeting? Tampa Bay Rays 4 – 1 Houston Astros

THE TEAM NEWS

TAMPA BAY RAYS

  • For the second game in a row, the Rays relied on their pitching to get past the Astros and were successful in that approach. After tabbing Astros starter Justin Verlander for three runs in the first inning, Tampa Bay never looked back and mustered 13 hits while allowing just five all game long. Tampa Bay are 6-4 in their last 10 games dating back to the regular season and, while playing away from home hasn’t been kind to them (0-2 in the playoffs but 48-33 in the regular season), they do have the form and the momentum on their side following Game 4.
  • Eric Sogard and Yandy Diaz remain day-to-day and it is unclear if either of them will be available for Game 5. Both players, however, remain on the NLDS roster so they could be available if needed ahead of this do-or-die contest. One player to keep an eye for the Rays in Game 5 is Willy Adames, who has gone 4-for-6 with two home runs, two walks and three runs over the past two games and could be the offensive catalyst the Rays need to pull the upset at Houston.
  • It hasn’t been announced who will start for the Rays in Game 5. Charlie Morton is unavailable, and Blake Snell pitched in relief during Game 4, so one of the options could be Tyler Glasnow. He went 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 12 starts during 2019, but he lost Game 1 of the ALDS at Minute Maid Park.

HOUSTON ASTROS

  • The Astros were the best team in the American League during the 2019 season, as evidenced by their MLB-best 107-55 record, and one of their strengths was their play at home where they had the best mark in the AL (60-21). They struggled badly in Game 3 and Game 4 at Tropicana Field, but they were absolutely dominant in their two home games during this series. For what it's worth, they have won 10 of their last 14 games dating back to the regular season.
  • The Astros do not have injury concerns ahead of this contest since all their players in the IL are not eligible to return until next year. One player to watch is Yordan Alvarez, though, as the rookie slugger is currently hitting .375 with a .938 OPS after going 1-for-4 on Tuesday.
  • AL Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole will get the start for the Astros in Game 5 and aside from being one of the best pitchers in all of MLB during the regular season, he is also coming off a strong start in Game 2 of the ALDS. Cole, who ended the regular season with a 20-5 mark, a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts, also struck out 15 batters in 7.2 innings of work during Game 2 at Minute Maid Park. Houston have won each of Cole’s last 14 starts as well (counting both regular season and playoffs).

THE PREDICTION

This is the only playoff series this year where each team has won their respective home games thus far, that is not likely to change in Game 5. Despite the fact the Rays had some heroic moments during the last two games of the series at Tampa Bay, the Astros are nearly unstoppable at home and to make things even worse, it seemed Cole was nearly un-hittable during Game 2. The Astros clearly hold the edge on paper and they are expected to advance to the ALCS where they would take on the New York Yankees.

TSZ Latest