Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays are -147 favorites to beat the Houston Astros in Sunday’s Game 1 of the ALCS. Image from @USATodaySports (Twitter).
- The Tampa Bay Rays are -147 favorites over the Houston Astros in Sunday’s opener of the ALCS
- Houston (+136) is playing in the ALCS for the fourth successive season
- Tampa Bay (1-0) has never lost an ALCS
When it comes to the ALCS, the Houston Astros have been there and done that, while the Tampa Bay Rays have never been done in.
The Astros are defending AL champions and are in the ALCS for the fourth successive season. The Rays made their lone appearance in the ALCS in 2008, defeating the Boston Red Sox to advance to the World Series, where they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The two teams met in last year’s ALDS, which Houston won in five games.
Blake Snell (1-1, 3.38 ERA) takes the mound for Tampa Bay in Game 1 on Sunday. Houston will counter with either Lance McCullers Jr or Framber Valdez.
The Rays are given -147 favorite’s odds. Houston is a +136 underdog.
Astros vs Rays Game 1 Odds
|Houston Astros (TBA)||+136||+1.5 (+160)||O 8.5 (-105)|
|Tampa Bay Rays (B. Snell)||-147||-1.5 (+140)||U 8.5 (-115)|
Odds taken Oct. 10 .
All games in the series are being played back to back at the neutral site of Petco Park in San Diego. The Rays own home-field advantage and will be afforded the last at-bat in Games 1, 2, 6 and 7. First pitch Sunday is at 7:30 pm ET.
Rays Turn To Well-Rested Snell
It will be the third straight playoff round that Snell gets the Game 1 start for Tampa Bay. He took the loss in Game 1 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees. The left-hander allowed four runs over five innings.
In the Wild Card round against the Toronto Blue Jays, Snell worked 5.1 scoreless innings. He struck out a postseason career-high nine batters and got the win
Charlie Morton and Blake Snell top a Tampa Bay front three that could dominate in a short season — and in October pic.twitter.com/fKzesI1uqM
— RJintaiwan (@JintaiwanR) October 5, 2020
With Rays manager Kevin Cash opting to go to Tyler Glasnow in Game 5 as an opener on two days’ rest, it means Snell will pitch on five days’ rest.
Snell pitched in three games against the Astros in last year’s ALDS. The Game 2 starter, he allowed one run in 3.1 innings. He also made two relief appearances in the series. Working two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, Snell recorded the only save of his MLB career.
Astros Weighing Options
Righthander McCullers got the start against Oakland in Game 1 of the ALCS and it didn’t go well. Making his first postseason start since the 2017 World Series, he was touched for five runs – four earned – and three home runs in five innings of work.
He’s 1-0 with a 3.25 ERA in 12 playoff appearances, including five starts. In three career starts against the Rays, McCullers is 1-2 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.
Lance McCullers Jr/Framber Valdez vs Blake Snell in game one of the battle between the AL’s best on Sunday #ALCS #ForTheH pic.twitter.com/O9Ewn37ppr
— Dalton Pence (@dpence_) October 10, 2020
Lefty Valdez is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in the postseason. He worked five innings of scoreless relief in Game 1 of the Wild Card round against Minnesota. That earned him a start in Game 2 of the ALDS against the A’s.
Valdez went seven innings, allowing a pair of solo homers in a 5-2 victory.
Bad Blood Boiling?
Celebrating their ALDS Game 5 series-clinching victory over the New York Yankees on Friday, the Rays devoted a little time to trolling their upcoming opponents. Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi and took a dig at the Astros by banging on a garbage can.
An off-season MLB investigation found evidence that the Astros stole signs from opponents using electronic equipment during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. They banged on trash cans to relay pitch information to hitters.
The Rays trolling the Yankees and Astros at the same time is perfection pic.twitter.com/fhVlukNrwo
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 10, 2020
Houston manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended a year and later fired.
Will this fire up the Astros and give them extra incentive, or have they just grown accustomed to being called cheaters?
Pick: Houston Astros (+136).
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.