One game away from the ALCS, the Houston Astros, the team with the best record in the AL, do not seem to be fretting anything. The offense has been looking good, and with an elite 1-2-3 starting pitching rotation and a terrific bullpen to come in whenever they are needed, the weaknesses are yet to be pointed out in Houston’s lineup. They won it all in 2017 and suffered a setback against the surging Red Sox last year. If they win Monday, they will be four wins from a second World Series trip in three years.
For Tampa Bay, this has been a tremendous season, as it was finally able to get back into the postseason. The Rays knocked off the A’s in the Wild Card Game, but will they be able to take any games against the AL’s best team? They have enough hitters that they should have been able to do at least something against Cole or Verlander, but they have been denied. If they cannot get on the board against Greinke early, they are in trouble.
Houston Looks To Advance To ALCS
After a few trips to the championship series in a row, the Astros hope that they can get out with a win. So far, things have been holding to form. Alex Bregman has homered in a game of the ALDS over each of the past four years, this one included. Jose Altuve knocked one out of the park to begin the series, and the impressively talented lineup is getting production across the board. This is a well-managed group with camaraderie as good as any other team in baseball. The gang has been rolling, and are nine innings away from a likely date with the equally, if not more impressive Yankees.
Zack Greinke will get the nod for Houston in Game 3. He went 8-1 over 10 starts after being acquired by the Astros at the trade deadline. He struck out 52 while walking just nine batters in 62 2/3 innings of work. He has playoff experience in multiple cities.
Rays Try To Stay Alive
After they were able to get by the A’s, the Rays now hope to dig deep and look to advance to the ALCS, needing three wins in a row. They have had to face baseball’s two 20-game winners over the Minute Maid Park portion of the series, a task that is extremely difficult. But they have stayed composed and haven’t imploded in either defeat, allowing the final opportunities for their bats. They are going to need a gem in Game 3 from Charlie Morton, who had an exceptional regular season in his first year out of Houston.
Morton, at 35, went 15-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 33 starts. He also walked 57 batters over his 194 2/3 innings of work.
Houston Completes The Sweep
Make sure to bet on the Astros, as they will be able to stamp this series shut. Maybe next year, Tampa Bay.
Free Play: HOU
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