Key #3: Steal a game at the Trop
This one will be a challenge. For whatever reason, Tropicana Field has not been kind to us even though we played a neutral series there due to Hurricane Harvey. But since then, the Astros are 2-6, which includes us going 1-3 in Tampa. What’s worse is that Houston has a .582 slugging percentage in the eight games since then.
If the Astros were to get ahead of the Rays 2-0, then they’ll have two chances to clinch the series and advance. However, if it’s either tied at one or if Tampa pulls out a 2-0 lead, the Astros will need to take a win in Tampa.
It all depends on what AJ Hinch does with his starting rotation. Game 4 of the series will be the big question mark should the Astros drop one game or two if they fall behind 2-1. If the Astros lead 2-1, the Game 4 starter might be needed and that could possibly be Jose Urquidy with how well he’s pitched lately. But if the Astros are behind 2-1, then they’ll have to rely on Verlander for Game 4 while Cole would get Game 5 should it go there.
Greinke will get the ball for Game 3, so he will have to be lights out. But also needing to wake up is the bats. Since 2015, the Astros have put together averages of .206/.275/.328 on their slash line. That has to change if Houston wants to finish off the series and move on.
In spite of all the challenges, the Astros will get from this Rays’ team, this series should help
More from House of Houston
- Are you the 2021 FanSided Sports Fan of the Year?
- Houston Texans: 4 reasons Romeo Crennel is right coach right now
- Astros-Twins Wild Card Series: 5 things to know as MLB postseason begins
- Houston Texans: The Most Underrated Sports Drought Ever
- Houston Texans: J.J. Watt’s early case for NFL Hall of Fame
benefit the Astros. Getting an early test to start the playoffs could help benefit them for the rest of the way. The Astros will look to give Tampa a first lesson in playoff experience since the Rays haven’t been in five seasons.
Wild card teams have rarely made deep runs since the Wild-Card was introduced back in 2012. Of the fourteen previous teams to reach the LDS, only two have made it to the World Series with one winning it all while four advanced to the LCS.
But that doesn’t mean that Tampa will not want to beat us and advance to the LCS. They do have the worst odds to win the World Series while we have the best odds. So there is pressure on us to win.
Having said that, I do feel like the Astros have enough to walk out with a win. It won’t be a sweep, but a four or five-game series at best. Let’s just hope I’m right in my prediction and hope we’re playing into next week.