The MLB playoffs never fail to entertain and Monday was no different. The action got started early Monday afternoon with the Tampa Bay Rays avoiding the sweep and beating the Houston Astros 10-3. Following that game was the St. Louis Cardinals using another comeback win and defeating the Braves 5-4, in 10 innings, to force a winner-take-all Game Five.
The night games saw one team extend their season to a decisive Game Five and another team see their playoff losing streak extend to 16 games. The Washington Nationals were facing elimination in their home park, but a magical pitching performance from Max Scherzer, and a four run 5th inning saw the Nats get the win and force a winner-take-all game back in LA. Finally, the New York Yankees finished off the sweep of Minnesota with a 5-1 victory on Monday night.
Below are my picks for Tuesday’s ALDS game between the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays. All lines are from the William Hill Sportsbook.
(Hou leads 2-1): Houston Astros (-240) at Tampa Bay Rays (+205): O/U 7.5 runs scored (-108/-114)
The Tampa Bay Rays bats finally woke up in the divisional series as the Rays put up 10 runs on the Astros Monday afternoon. Facing another tough Astros starter, Zack Greinke, the Rays were able to put up six runs, on five hits, in just 3.2 innings pitched by Greinke. The offensive attack started in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Kevin Kiermaier went yard and drove in three runs. Ji-Man Choi and Willy Adames each added on solo HRs to help propel the Rays to a Game Four. Charlie Morton gave the Rays five good innings and the bullpen maintained the lead for the final four innings as the Rays will now switch to an opener for Tuesday’s Game Four.
The Astros felt good coming into this one and probably felt really good just two batters in when Jose Altuve launched a sole HR to center. The Astros never really threatened again until the 6th inning when Yuli Gurriel knocked in two with an RBI single. Three of the five Astros pitchers gave up runs, but they have their ace on the mound in Game Four Tuesday.
Game Four Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (0.00 ERA in seven playoff innings) vs Diego Castillo (0.00 ERA in 3.2 playoff innings)
Game Four Prediction: Verlander shuts this one down and the Astros get ready for the AL Championship Series. Take the ‘Stros in this one.
MLB Playoffs Record: 12-4