Game 5. ALDS. The Rays will travel to Houston to take on the Astros in the conclusion of a whirlwind series. The Astros took the first two games in Houston, 6-2, and 3-1. Things took a turn no one could’ve predicted in Games 3 and 4 at the Trop. The Ray’s defeated the star studded starting pitching of the Astros, dominating Zack Grenkie and Justin Verlander winning Game 3, 10-4 and Game 4, 4-1.
In the crucial Game 5, Gerrit Cole will take the mound against Tyler Glasnow but if one of those pitchers under performs expect everyone to be available out of the bullpen. Cole has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball all year posting a 2.50 ERA over 33 starts. He led the league in strikeouts with a whopping 326. He was able to get the win in Game 2 pitching 7.2 inning, striking out 15, and allowing no runs. If he is able to give the Astros another outing like that, he puts them in a great spot to win.
Tyler Glasnow, has been nothing short of great this season, posting a 1.78 ERA in 12 starts. His 12 starts are due to a forearm strain he suffered in May that didn’t require Tommy John but had multiple setbacks not allowing him to return until the beginning of September. In his playoff start against Houston, Glasnow went 4.1 innings with 2 runs allowed. Glasnow is a stud in the making. He’s only 26 with great movement and elite velocity touching 100 on his fastball occasionally. He’ll have to navigate a tough Houston lineup, but win or loss this won't be the last you’ll hear of Tyler Glasnow.
The Rays have adopted the “moneyball” philosophy in every sense. They have the lowest payroll in baseball at roughly $53 million dollars. To put that in perspective, the Red Sox had the highest payroll in baseball this year at $250 million. The Rays (much like the Yankees) excel in finding players that other people undervalue and turning them into good ballplayers. Players like Ji Man Choi and Avisail Garcia have become fan favorites who have been mixed in expertly with all star caliber players such as Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows, and veteran CF Kevin Kiermaier. This Rays team embodies the underdog mentality and is ready to give it everything they’ve got.
The Astros lineup is stacked with talent from top to bottom from MVP candidate, Alex Bregman to AL Rookie of the Year favorite, Yordan Alveraz. They are not only the better team in this series but one of the best teams in baseball. The Astros led the AL in a host of statistics such as team batting average, OBP, Slugging Percentage, and OPS. Of course, in an elimination game, the stats don’t matter. It comes down to one game, so you can throw all those stats out the window, but one thing you can’t throw out is the postseason experience this Astros team has. They have won big elimination games before (Game 6 and 7 of the 2017 ALCS) and can absolutely do it again.
This series reminds me a little bit of the 2017 Yankees vs Indians ALDS, but in the end the Rays won’t be able to pull off the David vs Goliath upset.
I’m taking the Astros at home to win a close one 5-3.