Key #2: Jump on the pitching
The Astros can get on the Rays’ pitching staff. But the offense will have to get hit and that has to include a healthy Carlos Correa. This year, Houston scored 41 runs and had three guys batting over .300 against Tampa in Josh Reddick (.389/.421/.556), Jake Marisnick (.385/.429/.615), and Yordan Alvarez (.364/.500/1.000).
From what I read, it appears the Rays will start Tyler Glasnow on Friday and Blake Snell on Saturday. Glasnow faced us one time during the season and that was when he got a 3-1 win over us back in March when he went five innings allowing one run on six hits while striking out four. He missed much of the season due to an injury, but returned in September and finished with a 1.78 ERA.
As for Snell, we got to him on Opening Day and he’s also had to deal with injury issues. This season hasn’t gone the way he liked following his Cy Young award-winning year in 2018, which is still debated amongst ourselves.
Charlie Morton will most likely get the ball for Game 3. That will be a critical game regardless of whether it’s 2-0, 1-1, or 0-2. We did do a number on him last time, but knowing Chuck, he could remind us why he clinched the World Series for us.
But the biggest issue the Astros face will be the bullpen. Tampa has a league-leading 3.71 ERA and the highest WAR at 7.6 among all franchises. Obviously, the strategy of bullpen games has paid out for the Rays.
So Houston has to get the lead early, keep their starters on to let them hold down the Rays, and have their bullpen preserve the win. If the Astros get behind, they need to figure out a way to fight back or else, the door will be slammed.