The Houston Astros (102-55) welcome the Tampa Bay Rays (86-71) to Minute Maid Park on Saturday as the clubs continue their three-game set. The Astros are 3-4 in their last seven games while the Rays are 4-7 in their last 11 outings. Find out if Houston can build some momentum heading into the postseason in our Rays vs Astros prediction.
Rays vs Astros Opening Odds Analysis
The Astros opened as the home favorite at -161 on the moneyline with the Rays coming in as the road dog at +120. The total was set at 6.5 runs with the UNDER going 5-2 in the last seven meetings between the two clubs. Houston has won four of the last five meetings – another reason to like the hosts in your Rays vs Astros prediction.
Cristian Javier (10-9) pitched a one-hit, six-inning shutout in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles on September 25, though he still ended up with a no-decision. The Astros starter owns a 2.65 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over 142.2 innings of work.
Shane McClanahan (12-7) took a loss in his last start as he gave up six hits, three homers and four earned runs in five innings to the Toronto Blue Jays on September 25. The southpaw has a 2.51 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP in 161.1 innings this season.
Rays Clinch Playoff Berth With Win In Series Opener
The Rays took the first game of the series 7-3 on Friday and clinched a playoff berth thanks to a strong start from Drew Rasmussen, who allowed just two earned runs over seven innings. Yandy Diaz hit a big two-run double in the sixth to put Tampa Bay up 6-2 to lead the club with two RBIs.
Randy Arozarena finished off his hot September with another hit and RBI on Friday. The outfielder led Tampa Bay with 18 RBIs and 41 total bases in the month – seven more RBIs than the next-closest batter.
Valdez Rocked As Astros Fall To Rays
Alex Bregman hit a solo shot in the first and Yuli Gurriel had two RBIs but the Astros managed just seven hits in their loss on Friday. Starter Framber Valdez was rocked for nine hits and six earned runs in 5.1 innings of work.
Kyle Tucker went 0-for-4 on Friday but has been Houston’s hottest hitter over the last month with a team-high seven home runs and 20 RBIs. The slugger also leads the Astros with 104 RBIs on the season – the fifth-best mark in the majors.
Rays Player Prop: McClanahan OVER 7 K’s (+270)
McClanahan has been a strikeout machine this season with 192 K’ over 161.1 innings and has fanned seven or more in 19 of his 27 starts. You can bet on him to get six strikeouts at +145, but we like the odds of seven at +270 a lot more.
Astros Player Prop: Tucker OVER 3 Hits + Runs + RBIs (+106)
Tucker was an offensive force for the Astros in September as he looks to carry that momentum into the postseason. You can get him at +106 to record three hits, runs and RBIs on Saturday.
Rays vs Astros Picks & Insights
Rays: Keys To Victory
The Rays have struggled to put up much offense of late, averaging just 3.17 runs per game over their last six contests. Unless Tampa Bay’s offense shows up again like it did in the series opener, there will be a lot of pressure on McClanahan to keep the Astros’ bats relatively quiet.
Astros: Keys To Victory
Like Tampa Bay, Houston’s offense has been up and down of late: the Astros have scored just five runs in their last four losses but have averaged nine runs in their last three victories. Which Astros club will show up on Saturday? If Tucker and company get hot, Houston should coast to a win.
MLB Computer Picks: Astros ML -155
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