Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4923 Tampa Bay Rays vs.
#4924 Houston Astros
Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 2:10pm EDT
Written by Adam Rauzino

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The Tampa Bay Rays (86-71, 77-79 RL, 71-74-11 O/U) battle the Houston Astros (102-55, 83-73 RL, 60-88-8 O/U) in the three-game series finale on Sunday afternoon. The Rays will have Corey Kluber on the hill, seeking his 11th victory. The Astros will counter with Luis Garcia. The Astros lead the season series 3-1.

Kluber Starts, Rays Dip in Wildcard

The Rays will have Corey Kluber start this bout. Kluber didn’t have his best stuff last time out, conceding three runs on eight hits in four innings against the Guardians, leading to a no-decision in a game the Rays ended up winning. The veteran right-hander has posted a 5.18 ERA this month and his season ERA has plummeted to 4.36 along with a 1.21 WHIP and a 10-9 record in 159 innings pitched. Kluber held the Astros to only one run in seven innings in the lone meeting this season and is 6-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 73.1 career innings. 

Tampa Bay has qualified for the playoffs again and it’s just a matter of determining the wildcard order. They have dipped to the 3rd spot. The Rays are at the end of a six-game road trip. They have cooled down recently and lost two of three games in Cleveland this week.

Harold Ramirez continues to produce, amassing eight hits and three RBIs in his last eight games. The 28-year-old DH features a stellar .310 average along with 58 RBIs and a .769 OPS. Ramirez is a stellar 6 for 17 against the Astros this season. The Rays are fully healthy as Tyler Glasnow made his return to action just in time for the postseason.

The Rays are scoring an average of 4.19 runs per game, ranking them 21st overall. The pitching staff has logged a 3.39 team ERA, good for fourth in the big leagues. 

Garcia Starts, Astros Earn Best Record

The Astros will have Luis Garcia take the mound in the series finale. Garcia resumed his fine work last time out, holding the Diamondbacks to only one run in six innings, and was awarded the win to lift his record to 14-8. The talented young right-hander has rebounded nicely from a poor August and enters with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP in 151.1 innings pitched. Garcia posted five shutout innings in the lone meeting against the Rays this season and has allowed six runs in 10 career innings. 

Houston is going to finish with the best record in the AL and is going to be tough to beat in the playoffs considering the experience and depth. They continue to shine and have not lost a series all month. The Astros are 6-4 in their last ten home clashes. Yordan Alvarez missed a few games but returned to action on Friday.

Kyle Tucker continues to shine at the dish, accumulating 20 RBIs this month, and has now eclipsed the 100 RBI mark. The 25-year-old star has 29 big flies along with 104 RBIs and a solid .816 OPS. Tucker is 3 for 15 with three RBIs against the Rays this season.

The Astros are scoring an average of 4.59 runs on the year, landing them eighth. The pitching staff is carrying a 2.92 team ERA, good for second in the Major Leagues. 

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Rays have been stumbling down the stretch. They have only won two out of their last six games entering Saturday due to a slumping offense. The offense only managed one run in four out of the six games in that span. The Astros continue to excel and have yet to lose a series all month entering Saturday night.

Furthermore, Rays’ starter Corey Kluber hasn’t been reliable. The veteran has posted a poor 5.18 ERA this month and the Rays have lost in three out of his last four starts. Meanwhile, Astros' starter Luis Garcia has been dominant, recording a minuscule 1.96 ERA in his four outings this month. 

Prediction: Houston Astros ML

Full-Game Total Pick

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I expect a low-scoring game. The Rays’ slumping offense will result in the under. They have done nothing against the Astros, scoring a total of nine runs in the four meetings this season. Garcia has been stellar and posted five shutout innings against the Rays earlier this month. 

In addition, Kluber has filed a strong 2.62 career ERA against Houston. The Astros only averaged 4.5 runs in their last ten games and only scored 17 runs in the four meetings against the Rays entering Saturday. The under is also 6-2-1 in the Astros' last nine home games against a team with a winning record.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Adam Rauzino , "Adam Rauzino"

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball, and football. He enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and being an expert sports bettor. Prior to bringing his talents here to Winners and Whiners, Adam graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance. You would do yourself a huge favor by following Adam on a daily basis.