|Tampa Bay Rays||+1.5 (+110)||+240||Over 7 (+100)|
|Houston Astros||-1.5 (-130)||-285||Under 7 (-120)|
The Astros appeared to be in control of their best-of-five divisional series with the Rays, after two wins at home to start the series, but Tampa Bay battled back to force a decisive Game 5 at Minute Maid Park on Thursday night. The winner will face the well-rested Yankees—who swept the Twins—in the American League Championship Series that begins Saturday.
Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA), one of the AL’s most dominant pitchers this season, will get the ball for Houston. He started Game 2 for the Astros and held the Rays scoreless through 7 2/3 innings, with 15 strikeouts. Those stats were not all that surprising, considering Cole led the majors in strikeouts during the regular season and Tampa’s lineup had the ninth-most strikeouts of any team in baseball this year.
“Hopefully (Cole is) going to do it again,” Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos told the Associated Press. “That’s what we’re looking for. Getting back home for the fifth game is huge for us. We’ve played better at home this year.”
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 9, 2019
Houston won more games at home (60) than any MLB team in 2019. The Astros were also second, trailing only the Rockies, in runs scored per home game (6.0). The change in scenery could reinvigorate third baseman Alex Bregman (1.192 OPS through four games) and the Houston lineup.
The Astros will attempt to chase Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 1.78 ERA) early, as they did in Game 1, when he lasted just 4 1/3 innings. Glasnow surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks in that contest. Both of those runs came off a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, who also went deep in Game 3. No matter whom Rays manager Kevin Cash deploys to get outs in this game, Houston’s lineup should be able to handle the challenge at home.