Major League Baseball looked top heavy for all 162 regular season games, but the beauty of the playoffs is that all eight teams who make the divisional round have a chance to win and advance to play for a pennant. In the NL there is a Game Five in both NLDS’ and in the AL we have a Game Five Thursday night between the Tampa Bay Rays and, one of the two favorites to win the World Series, the Houston Astros.
Below are my picks for Thursday’s Game Five between the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros. All lines are from the PointsBet Sportsbook.
(Series tied 2-2): Tampa Bay Rays (+230) @ Houston Astros (-270): O/U 7 runs scored (-120/-102)
The Tampa Bay Rays jumped all over Houston, and Justin Verlander, Tuesday night getting out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning and never looking back. Tommy Pham opened the scoring with a home run to left center and then the Rays added two more runs on a Travis d’Arnaud single and a Joey Wendle double. Willy Adames added another solo HR in the bottom of the 4th inning and that would be the end of the night for Verlander. All in all, the Rays tallied seven hits, and four runs, in just 3.2 innings off Verlander, who was pitching on just three days’ rest.
The Astros will now turn to the likely AL Cy Young winner, Gerrit Cole, in the do-or-die Game Five and will like their chances at getting the win. Cole will be pitching on full rest after throwing 7.2 shutout innings, and striking out 15, on Saturday. The Rays will turn to Tyler Glasnow who gave up two runs in 4.2 innings during Game One, but Tampa will likely rely on its bullpen to get them through this one.
Game Five Pitching Matchup: Tyler Glasnow (4.15 ERA in 4.1 playoff innings) vs Gerrit Cole (0.00 ERA in 7.2 playoff innings)
Game Five Prediction: The Rays have surprised me this series, as I thought this would end in four, but I expect this surprise run to end Thursday night. Back Gerrit Cole and the Houston Astros to get the win.
MLB Playoffs Record: 12-5