After the Tampa Bay Rays took the first three games of the ALCS best of seven series, the Houston Astros have done the unthinkable and won three consecutive games while facing elimination. With the Astros 7-4 win on Friday, the Astros became just the second team in MLB history to force a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0 in a series. The only other team to do so was the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who won four straight games while facing elimination to the New York Yankees in the ALCS before winning the World Series.
Two former teammates, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr., who contributed to the Astros 2017 Game 7 World Series win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, will face each other on Saturday in another historic Game 7.
Astros force Game 7In the first six games of the series, the Astros are batting .268 as a team and averaging 3.3 runs per game. Houston has outscored the Rays 15-10 in the last three games, after being outscored 11-5 in the first three contests that all resulted in losses. Jose Altuve has hit three home runs and five RBI with a .455 AVG for the series, followed by Carlos Correas, who is batting .348 with two home runs and three RBI, and George Springer, who has hit two homers and drive in five runs. For the entire postseason, Correa has been Houston’s most consistent offensive player batting .372 with six home runs and 15 RBI.
Lance McCullers Jr., who was 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in the regular season, will start for Houston in Game7. In McCullers' career, he has appeared in 13 postseason games making five starts, posting a 1-1 record, and 2.84 ERA. McCullers took the loss in Game 2 and pitched seven inning allowing four hits and four runs, with 11 strikeouts. Only one of the four runs that McCullers allowed in the 4-2 loss was earned.
Rays don't want to be on the wrong side of historyThe Tampa Bay Rays failed to close out the Astros for the third straight day with their 7-4 loss. Tampa Bay went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. Manuel Margot hit two home runs and drove in three in the defeat. Margot has hit three home runs and has six RBI in the ALCS. Randy Arozarena has been the top offensive player for Tampa Bay in the postseason, batting .392 with six home runs and eight RBI. Against Houston in the ALCS, Arozarena has batted a team-best .333 with three home runs.
Strike 'em out, th...you know the rest pic.twitter.com/BJZdguXfTg— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) October 16, 2020
The former Astro Charlie Morton, who was 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA and 1.39 WHIP during the regular season, will start with the season on the line. Morton picked up a win in Game 2 of the series, pitching five shutout innings. In Morton's career, he is 6-2 with a 4.16 ERA in 11 postseason games. Morton is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his two starts this postseason.
- Rays are 0-4 in their last 4 elimination games against Houston
- Astros are 11-3 in their last 14 playoff games as an underdog
- Astros are 5-2 in their last 7 games following a win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Rays play as a team, with timely hitting, excellent defense, a balanced lineup, and a strong bullpen, but the Astros have a deeper battle-tested roster with more firepower. For the series, the Astros have out hit the Rays with a .268 batting average to .199. Surprisingly the Astros pitching has been strong as well. Houston has a 2.94 ERA as opposed to the 3.27 ERA for the Rays.
The Astros have climbed all the way back from a 3-0 deficit, which seemed improbable. Now that the series is tied at 3-3, I think Houston has come too far to lose on Saturday. With Houston being a slight dog, the price is right as well.
I'm all in of Houston to advance to their third World Series in four years.
Prediction: Houston Atsros ML +108
Full-Game Total Pick
The Rays won 4-2 when this same two pitchers faced each other on Monday; however, only three of the six runs scored in that game were earned. Both Morton and McCullers are experienced in the playoffs and have had success in October.
The lease will be short for any pitchers who struggle, and both managers have enough arms to keep this a low scoring game. Five of the six games in this series have gone under, and that is the way I will go for Game 7.
Prediction: Under 8