Houston Astros (34-32) at Tampa Bay Rays (45-22)
MLB Baseball: Monday, October 12, 2020 at 4:07 pm (Petco Park)
Lance McCullers (0-0) (9.00) vs. Charlie Morton (1-0) (1.80)
The Line: Tampa Bay Rays -190 / Houston Astros +170 --- Over/Under: 8.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays meet Monday in MLB action from the ALCS at Petco Park.
This will be Game 2 of a best-of-seven American League Championship Series featuring the Astros and Rays this week. In the Game 1 opener on Sunday, we had a tense matchup and a low-scoring game as Tampa Bay drew first blood on a 2-1 victory. Check back all season long for free MLB picks and MLB predictions at Sports Chat Place.
The Astros out-hit Tampa Bay 9-6 in the Game 1 loss Sunday, but only had a slim 1-0 lead for three innings and couldn’t get anything going from there. Houston’s Jose Altuve slapped a solo homer among his two hits, and starting pitcher Framber Valdez logged 6.0 innings with four hits, two earned and eight strikeouts.
For the Game 2 starting pitcher role, Houston will send out Lance McCullers. This season in 11 starts, McCullers posted a 3-3 record with a 3.93 ERA and 56 Ks in 55.0 innings of work. Over 12 games (five starts) in his postseason career, McCullers is 1-0 with a 3.25 ERA and 35 Ks in 36.0 innings.
Over on the Rays’ side, Game 1 starting pitcher Blake Snell got the win on 5.0 innings, six hits and one earned run with two strikeouts. Randy Arozarena logged a solo homer in the fourth inning, and Kevin Kiermaier posted a double.
In the starting pitcher role for Game 2, Tampa Bay will go with Charlie Morton. This season in nine starts, Morton went 2-2 with a 4.74 ERA and 42 Ks in 38.0 innings of work. Over his postseason career, Morton is 5-2 with a 3.50 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46.1 innings.
The Astros are 8-0 in their last eight playoff games as an underdog and 4-1 in their last five games versus the American League East. Houston is 40-19 in their last 59 Monday games and 4-1 in their last five games as an underdog.
Meanwhile, the Rays are 30-10 in their last 40 Monday games and 39-14 in their last 53 overall. Tampa Bay is 5-2 in their last seven playoff games and 50-22 in their last 72 games as a favorite.
PICK: I’m going to stick with Tampa Bay here. McCullers posted a sketchy outing in Game 1 of the ALDS versus Oakland in his last start, giving up five runs (four earned) with three homers in four innings. The Astros won that game, but likely won’t be able to run up the score versus the Rays and their usually-solid defense. I like this game to stay close until the later innings, with Tampa Bay scratching out a couple of runs on the way to a tight Rays win. It should be a well-matched and entertaining ALCS altogether, likely stretching to six or seven games.