Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros Betting Preview

A potential playoff preview is on tap when the Tampa Bay Rays take on the host Houston Astros in the first of a three-game series on Tuesday. These two teams haven’t played each other since Tampa Bay took three of four in the opening series of the season.

The Rays need to do well in this series, as they’ve dropped two straight and are in a virtual tie with Oakland for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. The Athletics have a better winning percentage by .001 due to playing two fewer games to this point. Houston comes into the series on a four-game winning streak and leads the American League West by nine games. In the battle for the best record in the American League, the Astros trail the Yankees by a half-game.

The moneyline for this contest has the Tampa Bay Rays +175 and the Houston Astros -190. The over/under for the contest has been set at 7.5.

Up And Down

Tampa Bay will send Charlie Morton to the mound for the opener, as the veteran right-hander has alternated between wins and losses in his last six decisions. Continuing that trend would give Morton a win, but he’s been having an interesting time of it lately. He allowed three earned runs over five innings in his last outing, taking a no-decision, but suffered a loss in his start before that after going seven innings and not allowing an earned run. On the season, Morton is 13-5 with a 2.85 ERA and 197 strikeouts, ranking third and sixth in the American League in the latter two categories, respectively.

The Rays have gone 5-5 over their last 10 games, with all 10 of those contests coming against the three teams in last place in the three American League divisions. The offense has really hit a slide over the last two outings, totaling just four runs in losses to Baltimore. Austin Meadows has been the team’s top hitter, leading the team in batting average (.280), home runs (23) and RBI (67), and he’s been solid over the last week, batting .320 with four doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI.

Ready To Bounce Back

Justin Verlander has been masterful lately, even in his losses. The right-hander is coming off a complete-game loss to Detroit in which he gave up just two hits, but both were solo home runs. Verlander did strike out 11 in the game, and he leads the majors in strikeouts with 239. On the season, he is 15-5 with a 2.77 ERA, including a win over the Rays on Opening Day when he went seven innings and allowed just three hits and one run with nine strikeouts.

The Astros have won seven of eight, with the only loss coming in Verlander’s setback when the offense could only manage one run. Houston has one of the deepest teams offensively in all of baseball, led by Michael Brantley, who is hitting a team-best .338 with 19 home runs and 80 RBI. Alex Bregman has been great as well, batting .283 with 32 home runs and 90 RBI while scoring a team-high 98 runs.

Verlander Wins Pitching Duel

Two pitchers that can shut a team down will be squaring off in this one. Morton has been good but not great recently, while Verlander has been outstanding, and he’s coming off a difficult loss. Look for the veteran to come up with a big performance in this one, limiting the Rays’ offense. I’m going with Houston -190 to win the opener.

Exit mobile version