2020 ALCS Preview: Rays V. Astros

Do we finally give the Astros some credit? Probably not.

We picked them to lose the ALDS and they made the Oakland Athletics look like they didn’t belong. Now, The Houston Astros are back in the championship series and looking to make all the haters admit that this club earned its title and earned its way to another. But the Tampa Bay Rays have built a pitching juggernaut and have enough offense to give them a chance to win every game.

For Houston, this seemed to be the year they’d crumble. No Justin Verlander. No Gerrit Cole. No AJ Hinch. But here they are, leading all playoff teams in average and tied for third in home runs. We expected Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa to hit. But Kyle Tucker? And where did Jose Altuve come from? He hit .219 for the year. They’ve needed the offense. Half of the staff has been doing its best impersonation of a petroleum product thrown on a fire. Framber Valdez has led the way for the starters? Don’t recognize the name? No worries. No one else knows it either.

For Tampa, they haven’t hit in the postseason. Their .207 average puts them 10th out of 16. But they have some budding postseason stars as well. Names like Mike Brousseau and Randy Arozarena have been incredible and the Rays’ pitching has continued to be solid. Charlie Morton gives them experience as a former Astro which can’t help when game-planning and Blake Snell gives them a bonafide number one.

The Astros will put up a fight and will probably win at least two. But the Rays pitching is too good. They have the experience to avoid fading in the late innings. As long as the defense doesn’t give Houston any extra chances, Tampa is the pick.

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