By: Jack O’Keefe & Trent Pruitt
The Astros were able to pick up the win last night and extend this series. At first I had completely written off Houston but we have to step back and realize that if Jose Altuve made the routine throw in the first inning in game two, this series could very well be knocked up at two games each. But he didn’t make the play and Manuel Margot made the Astros pay, hitting a three-run bomb and Tampa Bay never looked back. The series is 3-1 now and Kevin Cash will turn to John Curtiss and his stable of bullpen arms to close it out and advance to the World Series. Dusty Baker will go with Luis Garcia to try and claw their way back into this Pennant race.
Money Line: TB -143, HOU +132
Run Line: TB -1.5 (+112), HOU +1.5 (-132)
Total: 9 (O -110, U -110)
First Pitch: 4:07 CST, Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Jack O’Keefe & Best Bet
If you were to tell me we would be having a John Curtiss and Luis Garcia Game 5 ALCS matchup at the start of this truncated season… I would have thought the chances of having Dr. Tony Fauci throw the first ceremonial pitch on a line would have better chances of happening. As is the theme though for 2020: “Anything can happen”. The Astros become just the ninth team in baseball history to win a game after being down 3-0 in a series. Only four teams in baseball history have forced a Game 6 after falling down 3-0 in a series.
Houston will go with Luis Garcia, an unknown rookie who has yet to pitch this postseason. During the 2020 season, Garcia has gone 12.1 innings pitched and picked up nine strikeouts along the way. He has an impressive 2.92 ERA during the regular season. George Springer and Jose Altuve both homered last evening for the Astros, bringing the two to a combined eight homeruns and 17 RBIs. The Astros are not scoring a ton of runs in this ALCS, but they scored just enough to find themselves on the right side of the outcome in last night’s contest. The Astros only had men in scoring position twice yesterday, but they were able to cash in once. Zack Greinke was dominant in the game last night, going six innings and holding the Rays to just two runs.
For Tampa Bay to win and advance to the World Series, just continue to play tough defensive, do just enough damage at the plate, and let your strong starting pitching and bullpen lead the way to the 2020 World Series. Randy Arozarena, almost a guarantee-lock for ALCS MVP should Tampa Bay win, homered again in the game last night. He now has five homeruns postseason along with a ridiculous .438 batting average in October. Aside from Arozarena, the bats have been held in check for the Rays this postseason. They are pulling a card out from my Oakland A’s playbook by winning and dying by the long ball. It has worked out quite well for Tampa Bay so far, but it is slightly worrisome to think what might happen should they have to manufacture runs by slapping the ball between the lines and advancing runners on base. Tyler Glasnow pitched well last night, he went six innings and allowed four runs, but he did not have run support behind him for most of the game last night. The Rays were 1 for 4 with runners in scoring position last night. John Curtiss is expected to pitch one or two innings for the Rays today, before they can perhaps turn things over to Blake Snell? Snell last pitched Sunday, so he would be pitching on only four-days rest. The Rays can also go with Josh Fleming, who was added by the Rays prior to the start of the ALCS, but he has not pitched in a game for Tampa Bay since September. Kevin Cash is leading off with the slumping Brandon Lowe this afternoon, perhaps this will be what the slugging second baseman needs to get hot at the dish again.
For my best bet, I am going to take the U9 (-110) runs. Both teams are ice-cold at the dish right now, and I believe Thursday will be no different. The under has hit in four out of the last five games for Houston. The under has hit even higher for Tampa Bay, as the Rays have seen the under hit in six consecutive ball games. Ride the under wave while you can!
-Jack O’Keefe (@jpokeefe1s)
Trent’s Analysis & Best Bet
-Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
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