The Rays will try to close out its series with the Astros at PETCO Park tonight. They’ll try and move on to a World Series meeting with either the Braves or the Dodgers. But the Astros have other ideas so let’s break this ALCS Game 6 clash down and cash a ticket!
Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Friday, October 16, 2020 – 6:07 PM ET at PETCO Park
Astros Return from the Brink
Technically the Astros are still on the brink of elimination. They were just good enough on Thursday night to stave it off for at least another day. Houston manager, Dusty Baker, used five rookie pitchers in a row starting with Luis Garcia. He pitched two scoreless frames before his fellow rookie hurlers took the mound. The first-year brigade allowed only two runs over six-plus innings. Veteran right-hander Josh James gave up a game-tying homer to Ji-Man Choi in the eighth inning.
Ultimately, Baker’s strategy worked as Carlos Correa launched a game-winning blast in the bottom of the ninth. Sealing a 4-3 Astros victory, cutting Tampa’s lead to 3-2 in the series. Thirty-one-year-old reliever, Ryan Pressley, closed things out for the Astros. He pitched 1 ¹/₃ of an inning and allowed no runs on one hit before Correa’s timely home run.
“All I know is they’re (the rookie pitchers) fearless,’’ said Pressly. “To watch them go out there and see where they were at the beginning of the year and where they are right now, I’m impressed with how composed they’ve kept themselves this series.”
Rays Tap Snell for Game 6
After rolling to a 3-0 series lead, the Rays have gotten clipped by identical 4-3 scores over their last two games against the Astros. In order to reverse that trend and put a bow on this series for all their fans down in Tampa Bay, the Rays will look to veteran pitcher, Blake Snell, to bring home the ALCS hardware.
The 27-year-old southpaw rebounded nicely in his last start after getting touched for four runs. Three of which were dingers, on six hits over five innings of work against the Yankees, in what resulted in a 9-3 loss in the ALDS. However, last Sunday was a different story as he battled the Astros over five innings and allowed only one run in the Rays’ 2-1 Game 1 victory.
Snell was 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP over 50 innings of work during the regular season. In the postseason, he is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP over three games in 15 plus innings of work. Although Snell came up big in his last outing against Houston, it should be noted that if you backed him in your MLB picks in his two starts last year against the Astros, you would have lost your wagers after the Rays fell 5-1 and 3-1 in those starts.
Wanna Make a Bet?
Houston will send Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) to the bump tonight and the 26-year-old lefty will try to improve upon his two sterling postseason performances. He has posted a 201 mark with a 2.00 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and 17 K’s over three starts in 18 innings of work. During his last start, he allowed two runs on four hits over six innings in a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Here we have the same pitching matchup we had five days ago. If we scan the MLB odds on that game, we see that the top online sportsbooks were dealing Snell as anywhere between a -125 to -130 favorite. It was a hotly contested game in which the Rays eked out a 2-1 victory. Today we see that Intertops is dealing Snell as high as -140.
I don’t see much of a difference between these two starters. I would submit that Valdez is the more focused of the two. The Rays have allowed the Astros to sneak back into this series, and that’s a lousy strategy against an experienced team. Let’s grab the juice and back ‘Stros to pull the series even and wait for a highly anticipated Game 7!