Friday, October 15, 2020, Petco Park, San Diego, California, 5:07 PM ET
Rays at Astros Betting Preview: Rays (-136), Astros (+114)
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays might have dropped a game in the American League Championship Series, but they did not relent, scoring in the ninth inning on a Willy Adames double off the wall to keep things interesting. Rookie Randy Arozarena’s impressive postseason continued with a fourth-inning home run, his second long ball of the series and fifth of the playoffs.
Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier did not play in Game 4 after he was hit on the left wrist by a 99 mph fastball one day earlier, but the Rays said he was available off the bench. Hs status for Game 5 was uncertain. Manuel Margot started in center instead and went 1-for-4, striking out three times. Brandon Lowe did not start in Game 3 and struck out as a pinch hitter, leaving him with one hit in his past 35 at-bats.
If the Rays are to advance Thursday, it likely would occur on a bullpen game, fitting since that is their forte.
The Astros not only stayed alive with a 4-3 victory in Game 4, but Jose Altuve came to the rescue after his recent defensive struggles. Altuve hit a home run in the first inning and added an RBI double in the third. He also handled his two defensive chances without a throwing miscue.
No days off in the series means the games keep coming, and the Astros likely will have to get through another day while leaning on their bullpen for nine innings. Cristian Javier backed starter Zack Greinke in Game 4 with two-plus innings, but that means he would be extremely limited, at best, in a bullpen game Thursday.
George Springer continues to show that the playoffs are his happy place with a two-run home run that broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning. Springer has three home runs and seven RBIs this postseason, giving him 18 homers and 35 RBIs in 60 career playoff games.
ALCS Betting Pick for Game 5: Rays at Astros
The Rays kept coming at the Astros in Game 4 even in defeat, and they don’t look as if they will back off anytime soon. Of the two pitching staffs, the Astros appeared to be stretched thin more than the Rays did.
In the 38 previous times a team fell behind 3-0 in a best-of-seven series, only three clubs forced a Game 6. History is on the Rays’ side.
Rays at Astros Betting Pick:
Rays 4, Astros 2
ALCS Best Bet for Game 5: Rays at Astros
Offense has been hard to come by all series, and with a 2:07 p.m. local start at San Diego for Game 5, shadows and poor lighting only figure to make things even more difficult. Tampa Bay should advance in a low-scoring game.
Rays at Astros Best Bet: UNDER 9.5 Runs (-122)
–Field Level Media