Houston Astros (36-35) at Tampa Bay Rays (48-24)
MLB Baseball: Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 8:37 pm (Petco Park)
Lance McCullers (0-1) (4.09) vs. Charlie Morton (2-0) (0.90)
The Line: Tampa Bay Rays -120 / Houston Astros +110 --- Over/Under: 8 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays meet Saturday in MLB American League Championship action from Petco Park.
This will be a decisive Game 7 in the ALCS matchup between the Astros and the Rays. Tampa Bay posted wins in the first three games, but Houston stormed back to even the series with victories on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Check back all season long for free MLB picks at Sports Chat Place.
The Astros out-hit Tampa Bay 11-6 in the Game 6 win on Friday, opening the floodgates with a four-run fifth inning. Houston was up 7-2 by the eighth inning and cruised the rest of the way. Kyle Tucker posted a solo homer and two RBI there, while Carlos Correa had three hits and one RBI. Starting pitcher Framber Valdez put up 6.0 innings with three hits, one earned, three walks and nine strikeouts.
In the starting role for Game 7, the Astros are sending out Lance McCullers. Over 11 starts in 2020, McCullers put up a 3-3 record with a 3.93 ERA and 56 Ks in 55.0 innings. This postseason, McCullers is 0-1 in two starts with a 4.09 ERA and 16 Ks in 11.0 frames.
Over on the Rays’ side, Friday starting pitcher Blake Snell took the loss with 4.0 innings, three hits, two earned, four walks and four strikeouts. Manuel Margot was the only offensive bright spot for Tampa Bay in the loss, posting a 2-for-4 outing with two homers and three RBI.
In the Saturday starting pitcher slot, Tampa Bay will send out Charlie Morton. This year Morton went 2-2 over nine starts with a 4.74 ERA and 42 Ks in 38.0 innings. So far this postseason Morton is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 10.0 frames total.
The Astros are 10-3 in their last 13 playoff games as an underdog and 38-14 in their last 52 Saturday games. The under is 5-0 in Houston’s last five games as an underdog and 5-0 in their last five playoff games.
Meanwhile, the Rays are 7-1 in their last eight Saturday games and 7-2 in their last nine playoff games as a favorite. Tampa Bay is 42-16 in their last 58 overall and 36-16 in their last 52 games as a favorite.
PICK: I’m still going to lean Tampa Bay here. It's a close one though, and I'm probably staying away realistically. The Rays haven’t quite been themselves over the past few outing, and they lost a couple of close games that came down to relatively few mistakes. Morton has been pretty darn great this postseason so far, and should be able to keep the Houston hitters at bay with his strikeout capabilities. I would think this will be another lower-scoring and tight game.