A Quick (Bonus) Thursday Discussion Question - ALDS, Game 5

Who do you want to win the Rays vs Astros game tonight?

Jacob Gaba - I want the Rays to win. Three simple words: home field advantage. Do I think the Rays will win? No. Gerrit Cole has been unstoppable in 2019, and tomorrow won’t be any different. The Rays bullpen will have to be better than Cole, who I wouldn’t expect to give up more than a couple of runs against this Rays offense.

Matthew Cohen - I’d rather face the Rays. Verlander and Cole are just too good.

Derek McAdam - It is a very tough decision, but I would want the Rays to win Game 5 for two reasons. First, it means the Yankees secure home field advantage for the ALCS. Second, if even Tampa is coming off a three-game winning streak, the Yankees have had several days off. Coming off a rough end to the season, the Yanks did not look like a playoff team. The four days off between the final game of the regular season and the first game of the ALDS did wonders for the players. Hopefully, the same result comes from these upcoming four days off. However, I predict the Astros will win Game 5 with a solid performance from Gerrit Cole.

Patrick Gunn - As a baseball fan, I want the Rays to win this game. It's a classic David vs. Goliath story: the small budget Rays (whose Game 3 starting lineup is making less that the Astros' starter they faced in Zack Greinke) coming back from a 2-0 deficit against the mighty Astros with a stacked rotation of strikeout machines in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole with a lineup so good, Carlos Correa is batting seventh in major games. It's just a great story to see a Rays team, who lost two of their best starters (Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell) for much of the season with injuries to rise to their opponent and fight back, even if they are a division rival of the Yankees. That being said, Houston at home is a different animal than Houston on the road. The Astros went 60-21 this season at home, and 12-4 at home over the past two postseasons. The only team to solve them was the Red Sox last year, and that was arguably one of the best teams in baseball history making a statement (who also went 7-1 on the road last postseason). Top that with Cole working on normal rest after his amazing Game Two (7.2 innings, 15 strikeouts) and the Astros are still heavy favorites. That's why I'm still picking the Astros to take game five and advance to the ALCS.

Ethan Semendinger - When it comes down to a Game 5 in the ALDS between two teams, then it shows that those teams are evenly matched. I know some writers, fans, and commentators will say that the Astros are the better team than the Rays (and their record, players, etc. can all show this greatly), but there is something impossible to quantify in a team that allows them to battle: heart.

I want the Rays to beat the Astros. They would be a much easier opponent (on paper) than the Astros, and it doesn't matter who you beat to get to the World Series if you win it all. Every other team had to fail along the way, other teams had to succeed, and if your team gets to hold the Commissioners Trophy, then they are the best team in baseball at that time.

However, I think it's a small dream that the Rays will ultimately win tonight. 538 puts them at 30% odds to beat the Astros, on the road, against arguably the 1st/2nd best pitcher in the AL this year on proper rest. Anything can happen, and I hope the underdogs are able to take it early and run with it to the ALCS, but I'm not putting all my eggs into that basket.

Paul Semendinger - Of all the teams in baseball that the Yankees might have to play, I think the Astros are the best. There would be something special about watching the Yankees defeat them in the ALCS. The idea of them taking down the team that beat them in 2017 would be great. THey are a deep team with talent everywhere. I just don’t think the Rays can defeat them in Houston. I also think the Rays would be a much easier opponent for the Yankees in the ALCS. Of course, if the Rays win, that says that they too will be a tough opponent. Still, I’d much rather face the Tampa Bay Rays than the Houston Astros. If the Rays make it, the Yankees also get home field advantage. I will be rooting for the Rays, but I know that if they win, they won’t be a push-over in the ALCS.