Two American League teams that are headed to the playoffs will meet on Tuesday night at The Trop as the Houston Astros visit the Tampa Bay Rays.
Houston won three out of four games at home last weekend against the Oakland Athletics and then took Game 1 of this series 4-0. The Astros are 97-51 on the season and they are 15 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners in the AL West Division. Houston is also up 8 games on the New York Yankees in the AL Conference team standings. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games played and head to Tuesday having won two in a row.
Tampa Bay took two of three games against the Texas Rangers in their previous series before losing Game 1 to the Astros. The Rays are 82-65 on the season and are in third place in the AL East Division, 6.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East Division. Tampa Bay is currently occupying the second Wild Card spot in the American League and is five games above the cutoff.
The Astros have a comfortable lead in both their division and league standings. After taking Game 1, Houston has won 10 out of its last 12 games played including their last two. Following their win over the Rays the last time out, the magic number for them to clinch the division is down to one and they can book it with a win on Tuesday night.
Cristian Javier will open on top of the mound for the Astros. This will mark his 28 appearance and 23rd start of the campaign. He enters this game with a 9-9 record with an ERA of 2.87 and a WHIP of 0.995. Javier has pitched in a total of 131.2 innings and has 173 strikeouts and 46 walks on the season.
Javier picked up the win in his last start against the Tigers. He pitched six scoreless innings on two hits with zero walks and 8 strikeouts. In his last three starts, Javier is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.20 and a WHIP of 0.92 with 23 strikeouts and 5 walks in 16.1 innings of work. He has pitched against the Rays only once before, allowing three runs on four hits in five innings of a no-decision.
The Rays saw their two-game winning streak end in Game 1 as they failed to put up a run against the Astros at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay is 6.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East Division but they are currently occupying the second wild card spot in the American League, five games up on the 4th place Baltimore Orioles.
Shane McClanahan will start for the Rays on Tuesday. McClanahan will be starting for the 26th time this year and he has a record of 12-5 with an ERA of 2.13, a WHIP of 0.86 with 187 strikeouts, and 31 walks in 152.1 innings pitched this season. He earned the win against the Blue Jays in his last start, pitching five scoreless innings on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
In his last three starts, McClanahan is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.00 and a WHIP of 0.778. He pitched 18 innings during that stretch, allowing five walks with 22 strikeouts. McClanahan is 16-6 with an ERA of 2.74 and a WHIP of 1.099 with 42 walks and 202 strikeouts over 161 innings pitched.
The Astros are 7-3 in their last 10 games played against the Rays. Houston is however 9-23 in their last 32 meetings in Tampa Bay.
The Astros are:
The Rays are:
Both these teams are heading to the playoffs and both have plenty of talent to work within their respective pitching staff. Houston has the likes of Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia, Lance McCullers Jr., Hunter Brown, and Tuesday’s starter in Javier.
Javier is having a fine season and is probably as good as any back-end rotation pitcher in the entire MLB. The problem however is that he will be facing Shane McClanahan who picked up where he left off his most recent start against the Toronto Blue Jays and is in his first game back from the DL with a shoulder issue.
The Rays have played solid at home this season at 49-25 and if McClanahan shows up like he always does, the Rays should be able to pick up the victory in this contest.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Rays
The under is 21-8-2 in the last 31 head-to-head meetings between these two teams. The total has gone under in 26 out of the last 36 meetings in Tampa Bay with two games ending in a push.
Houston Astros over/under trends:
Tampa Bay Rays over/under trends:
Houston is ranked 8th in baseball in scoring at 4.58 runs per game this season. Those numbers drops to 4.57 runs per game when playing away from Minute Maid Park. The Astros average 7.80 runs per game this season, and 7.84 runs per game when playing on the road.
The Rays meanwhile are just 18th in the league in scoring at 4.24 runs per game this season. That number drops to 4.22 runs per contest when playing at their home field. Tampa Bay is seeing an average of 7.98 runs per game, a total that drops to 7.52 runs per contest when playing at home.
Those numbers could get Monday’s score over the total but considering Cristian Javier and Shane McClanahan are having excellent seasons and currently posting ERAs of below 3 runs per game, this game should fall short of the total. Give me the teams to hit the under.
Prediction: Under 7
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