This Saturday, the (85-71) Tampa Bay Rays and the (102-54) Houston Astros will play game two of this three-game series. The first pitch will be thrown out at 7:20 PM EST inside Minute Maid Park. The last time that these two teams matched up, the Houston Astros ended up sweeping the Rays.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be coming into this game after losing their previous series to the Cleveland Guardians. Tampa struggled at the dish in the final two games, as they only scored two combined runs to end the series. They will have to warm up at the plate if they want to challenge the Astros on the road.
The Houston Astros are entering this one after splitting a short two-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Astors looked great at the plate in game one, as they scored 10 runs. They stunk in game two, though. Houston only scored two runs to finish that series. They will need to heat up at the dish if they want to get the job done in this one.
Having some trouble hitting a bet? Lucky for you, I've put my three favorite NCAAF week 5 picks in this "Pick Me Up 3-Pack" package. It's like a cup of coffee for your bankroll, but better. If they don't go (2-1) or better, you will get your money back. It's time to start stacking some coin and I can't wait for these games to start. I've kept my head in the books all week and I love this slate of games. My Best Bet is included and I can't wait to see all of you back in the GREEN!
Can the Rays Sneak In?The Tampa Bay Rays are currently in third place in the AL East, as they trail the first-place New York Yankees by 11.5 games. The Rays are 3-7 in their last 10, as they started to slide in the wrong direction. They are also still holding on to the final AL Wild Card spot, as they have a five-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles.
At the plate, the Rays are scoring 4.22 runs per game and they are hitting .241 as a team. This is the 21st most runs scored per game and the 17th highest overall team batting average. They have struggled to consistently reach base safely this season and they have had issues when there are men in scoring position. The Rays have also realized that they don't have very much power inside of their lineup. Tampa Bay is only hitting .87 bombs per game, which is the 26th most in the league. I would watch for Randy Arozarena, as he leads the team with 20 home runs this season. I would expect the Rays to stay aggressive once they have reached base safely, as well. They have already taken 95 bases this season, which is the ninth most. They have a ton of speed inside of their lineup.
According to MLB.com, the Rays will be starting Shane McClanahan on the mound, as he is 12-7 with a 2.51 ERA and a .92 WHIP. Reaching base consistently has been a real struggle for his opponents this season. He is also 3-2 on the road this season, with a 1.94 ERA. In his last start, he pitched for 5.0 innings, but he gave up six hits and four earned runs to the Blue Jays. Tampa Bay's bullpen has also allowed the sixth least amount of runs per game. As a team, the Rays are only allowing 3.82 runs per game, which is the sixth least in the MLB.
Can the Astros Finish Strong?The Houston Astros have already locked up their division, as they are leading the AL West by 16.5 games. The Astros are also 7-3 in their last 10, as they have continued to stack wins on top of each other. Houston still holds on to the number one seed in the AL Playoffs, as well.
At the plate, the Astros are scoring 4.63 runs per game and they are hitting .247 as a team. This is the ninth most runs scored per game and the 13th highest overall team batting average. The Astros have been great with men in scoring position this season. They have also realized that they can score in multiple different ways. They are hitting 1.35 bombs per game, which is the fourth most in the league. They have multiple players that can change this game with one swing of the bat. Watch for Yordan Alvarez at the dish in this one. He currently leads the team with 37 home runs. I would also expect the Astros to stay fairly conservative once they have reached base safely. They have already taken 82 bases this season, which is the 16th most in the league.
According to MLB.com, the Astros will be starting Cristian Javier on the mound, as he is 10-9 with a 2.65 ERA and a .96 WHIP. In his last start, he pitched for 6.0 innings and he only gave up one hit to the Orioles. This was also his third straight shutout. The Astros bullpen is giving up the least amount of runs, as well. They have been great this season. As a team, Houston is allowing 3.26 runs per game, which is the second least in the MLB this year.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I will be taking the Houston Astros (-1.5) in this matchup with the Rays. Tampa is trying to lock in their spot in the postseason and I believe they are feeling the pressure. They struggled at the end of their last series against the Guardians and Tampa will be starting Shane McClanahan on the mound. Yes, he has been one of the best pitchers on the Rays' roster, but he has struggled in his last few starts. The last time he was on the mound he surrendered four earned runs to the Blue Jays after 5.0 innings pitched. The Blue Jays got to him early and I see the Astros doing the same in this one. McClanahan isn't feeling it right now and Houston will take advantage. They are scoring the ninth most runs per game and they have the 12th highest overall team batting average. They will continue to make contact with the ball, as they will give themselves multiple opportunities to score in this game. I also see the Astros showing off their power in this one, as they are hitting the fourth most home runs per game. They will do the majority of the scoring and give themselves a great chance of winning. I also trust Javier on the mound, as he has been solid as of late. The Rays are also only scoring the 21st most runs per game, as I don't see them cashing in at the plate enough to keep this score within the spread.
The Astros are the better team and they have no pressure on them right now. Hammer them and lay the run line spread (-1.5).
Full-Game Total Pick
I will be taking the over (6.5) runs in this matchup between the Astros and the Rays. I know they have two of their better pitchers on the mound, but I still see both teams having success at the plate. McClanahan struggled in his last start, as the Astros will be able to do the majority of the scoring in this game. They are scoring the ninth most runs per game and they are hitting the fourth most home runs. They can score multiple different ways and McClanahan won't be able to keep them off the scoreboard for the majority of this game. Now, I also see the Rays giving us a few insurance runs, as they will be going up against Cristian Javier to start this game. He has been solid this season, but he hasn't been as great at home. Inside Minute Maid Park, he is 5-5 with a 2.45 ERA. He will give his team a great chance of winning, but he will still surrender a few runs. This total is simply too low, as I don't see McClanahan being as good as he was to start the season. The Astros will do the majority of the scoring and push this total over the number.
Pick the over (6.5) runs and trust both teams at the dish in this game.