Tuesday, October 13, 2020, Petco Park, San Diego, California, 8:40 p.m. ET
Rays at Astros Betting Preview: Rays (-110), Astros (-110)
Tampa Bay Rays
Even though the Rays are searching for more offense, they hold a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series. Tampa Bay has just six runs and 10 hits in the series, and five of the runs have come off homers, including all of them in a 4-2 victory Monday. Manuel Margot drilled a three-run homer and made a highlight-reel catch, and Mike Zunino slugged a monster solo shot.
Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough draws the start for Game 3, and he will be making his first career postseason start. The 28-year-old was stretched out in his lone outing of this postseason as he pitched five innings of relief against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the AL Division Series and allowed two runs, six hits and one walk while striking out one. The deep Tampa Bay bullpen figures to be busy from the sixth inning on as manager Kevin Cash continues to show big-time confidence in the relief corps.
Different heroes keep emerging for the Rays, whether it be Margot (three postseason homers) or Randy Arozarena (four homers) or Michael Brosseau (homer to win the ALDS). Keeping with the revolving door, maybe it is time for Austin Meadows or Hunter Renfroe to the standout in Game 3.
The Astros have scored just three runs and left 21 runners on base in the series, and that doesn’t fit the profile of a club that has regularly been one of the top offensive teams in the majors over the past six seasons. Manager Dusty Baker feels the club is experiencing tough luck as some hard-hit balls have struck right at defenders or gloved via outstanding plays. Bad breaks or not, Houston has to be better than 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position, its numbers through two games, if it wants to reach the World Series.
Houston right-hander Jose Urquidy will start Game 3 in his third start of the postseason, and one of the goals will be keeping the ball inside Petco Park. The 25-year-old was touched up for four solo homers in Game 3 of the ALDS by the Oakland Athletics as he gave up four runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. Lance McCullers Jr. gave the Astros seven innings in Game 2, and that leaves Baker with a well-rested bullpen for Tuesday’s contest.
Jose Altuve is 3-for-9 with a homer in the series, but he committed two throwing errors Monday when fielding grounders in shallow right field, including a costly one prior to Margot’s three-run homer. It will be interesting to see how he responds in Game 3, particularly the first time he makes a throw from shallow right to first.
ALCS Game 3 Betting Pick: Rays at Astros
It’s basically a do-or-die game for Houston as falling behind 3-0 in the series would be devastating, especially with hard-throwing Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow lined up to start Game 4, with former Cy Young winner Blake Snell waiting for a possible Game 5.
Tampa Bay’s offense hasn’t been all that ferocious but hasn’t had to be due to the club’s strong defense and pitching. But it seems that the Rays eventually are going to drop a close game if the bats don’t pick up.
Rays at Astros Betting Pick:
Astros 3, Rays 2
ALCS Game 3 Best Bet: Rays at Astros
Runs have been hard to come by and it figures to be that way again in Game 3. Until the teams show they can get clutch hits, sticking with the under is the best play.
Rays at Astros Best Bet: UNDER 8.5 total runs (-102)
–Field Level Media