The Tampa Bay Rays found a way to beat the Yankees in the do-or-die game five match-up and now find themselves in the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.
After brutal offense all year long, the Astros have caught fire. There are questions without answers, but this team is hitting lights out right now. The Astros finished off the Athletics in four games with 33 runs in four games and before that, the Astros slid past the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card Series with seven runs in two games.
The Rays were able to save Blake Snell in their game five against the Yankees and he’ll absolutely get the first start on Sunday against the Astros. The Rays have three aces that can be called upon and relied on Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton and a bullpen that can throw heat. This bullpen has swagger that’s unmatched.
But it’s not just the pitching that got the Rays in this position. The Rays do all of the little things right. Whether that’s hitting with runners in scoring position or fielding bad throws around the diamond on the hop and getting outs, like Ji-Man Choi did plenty of in the fifth game of the ALDS.
The little things matter, especially in tight games. That’s why, even though the Rays don’t have that crazy star power in their lineup, they’re still able to win ball games. The Rays have been fantastic in tight games and that’s why they’re the first seed and will have “home field advantage” in this series, meaning they’ll be the home team in more games than the Astros in this series.
If you like offense, this is the series for you. The Los Angeles Dodgers boast a deep and powerful lineup that led baseball in runs scored, while the Atlanta Braves scored just one fewer time than L.A. this season.
There are few teams in baseball that match the Dodgers group highlighted by Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger in terms of offensive star power, but Atlanta's combination of Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. sure can.
Both of these teams got timely hits, but the Dodgers look to have the inside track with a strong pitching staff that can shut any team down. The Braves starters will have to keep the team in the game going up against a very strong Dodger lineup that works the count and makes it really tough on pitchers to get outs.
If the Braves bats can get hot and feed off one another so they’ll need to take advantage of situations with runners in scoring position and 2 out hitting. The key is scoring in those situations as you won’t see many. Should be a great series.