By Drew Modjeski
The Tampa Bay Rays lived to survive another day when they crushed the Astros and Zack Greinke in Game 3. Building momentum is huge in the postseason, and if the Rays can win Game 4, they will roll into Houston with a lot of swagger for Game 5. The only problem is that the Rays must find a way to beat Justin Verlander if they want to stay alive this season.
Money Line- Houston Astros -145, Tampa Bay Rays +131
Run Line- Houston Astros -1.5 (+115), Tampa Bay Rays +1.5 (-135)
Over/Under- 7.5 (O -120, U +100)
First Pitch- 3:15 p.m. CST. Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay, Florida
The Astros looked uninspired in Game 3. Six players went hitless throughout the game and the pitching was terrible. Zack Greinke got crushed for six earned runs and could not even make it out of the fourth inning. The offense will need to be better on Tuesday if they want to end this series. While a couple Astros hitters have been going off this series, mainly Altuve, Bregman, Alvarez and Gurriel, they need the rest of the team to show up to put the Rays away.
Justin Verlander was amazing in Game 1 as be went seven innings of scoreless baseball. In fact, Verlander only allowed one hit his entire time out there and he struck out eight Rays batters. The Astros have only lost one game over the past month and a half when Verlander has started which does not bode well for the Rays. Verlander even got to pitch on full rest so he should be as sharp as normally.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays seem to be heading into Game 4 with an opener instead of a true starter. As of now, Diego Castillo is slated to start this pivotal game. Castillo has gotten some work this series pitching one and two third innings while letting up no runs. Throughout the whole postseason, Castillo has yet to give up a run and has only giving up three total hits. Castillo will most likely pitch two innings, three innings max, so the Rays are going to have to call on their pen a lot. I expect to see a few starting pitchers in this game too as the Rays have to go balls to the wall to win. Blake Snell might get a few innings and maybe Tyler Glasnow too. They will all need to be amazing if they Rays want to see Game 5.
Analysis and Prediction
I always want to see a winner take all game, but I expect this series to be done in four. Justin Verlander is too good and the Rays won’t be able to handle it. Take the Astros on the money line at -145.