The Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros are scheduled for a three-game series at Minute Maid Park this week. The Rays have nothing left to play for when it comes to the AL East. They’re in comfortably and cleared the field with ease. I’m highly impressed with what the Rays have done this season after going to the World Series.
There was some speculation that the Rays were going to have a hangover, which happens sometimes with teams that go to the World Series, but that’s not what has occurred. The Rays have carried their momentum from the shortened season over to the full season in 2021.
Post-clinch let down? Nah
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 26, 2021
Seeding is still in play when it comes to the postseason bracket, though. It looks very good that they’re going to have homefield advantage through the American League postseason. The one scenario in question at the moment is if they play the Milwaukee Brewers in the World Series. Tampa is currently three games up on the Brewers going into Tuesday.
The most important thing for the Rays right now is to stay focused and keep their composure going into October. There isn’t anything to suggest that they’re going to lose their focus, because the Rays have been in good form from the spring to the fall. No surprise if they repeat with a trip to the World Series.
The Rays are going into Tuesday on a four-game winning streak, so they’ve been showing no signs of slowing down. Michael Wacha knows all about playing well in October. Wacha played a big role for the Cardinals years back in St. Louis. He isn’t the same pitcher since then, but we’ll see if Wacha can help, likely as a reliever.
Wacha is getting the starting nod for the Rays at Minute Maid Park to open this series. He’s seen better days, but Wacha can still be good when he wants to be. Jose Urquidy is scheduled to counter for the Astros. Head below for our free Rays vs. Astros pick on September 28, 2021.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros Live Odds and Betting History:
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1.5 (-161)||+117||Over 9 (-115)|
|Houston Astros||-1.5 (+141)||-127||Under 9 (-105)|
|Team Data||Tampa Bay Rays||Houston Astros|
|Batting Average Away/Home||.240||.263|
|Runs Per 9||5.41||5.43|
|Team ERA Away/Home||4.62||3.54|
Rays vs. Astros Prediction:
Michael Wacha might end up being a solid option for the Rays out of the bullpen in the postseason. He isn’t going to be starting material at this point in his career. From 2013 to 2015 when Wacha was young, he was having the time of his career. Over the last three years, Wacha hasn’t finished with an ERA below 4.00.
Going into Tuesday night, Wacha has an ERA of 5.49 and a 1.38 WHIP through 116.1 innings of work. He hasn’t been in the best of form recently either Wacha has been consistently putting up these numbers for the most part. Wacha has registered an ERA of 5.14 and a 1.07 WHIP in his previous three starts.
In his last start, Wacha was tagged for 7 hits and 6 earned runs on September 15. He was demoted to the bullpen for his last two assignments. In his latest outing, Wacha allowed 3 hits and an earned run versus the Blue Jays on September 21. Bad news for Wacha in this matchup, though.
The Astros have torched Wacha for a .535 batting average and 6 RBIs in 23 at-bats. This isn’t the team that Wacha wanted to see to gather some confidence. The ‘Stros are first in the majors with a team batting average of .268 and 5.39 runs per game.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Houston Astros Betting Trends:
- Record (Last 10): 7-3
- 12-3 overall in their previous 15 first games of a series
- 2-5 overall in their previous seven games on the road
- 1-5 overall in their previous six games at Minute Maid Park
- OVER is 13-2-1 after allowing 2 or less runs in their previous game
- Michael Wacha ERA (Last 3): 5.14/li>
- Record (Last 10): 5-5
- 0-4 overall in their previous four games
- 8-3 overall in their previous 11 games at Minute Maid Park
- 5-1 overall in their previous six games versus the Rays at Minute Maid Park
- OVER is 6-3 in their previous nine games
- Jose Urquidy ERA (Last 3): 4.40
The Astros will look to break out of a four-game skid with Jose Urquidy on the bump at home. Urquidy has been solid with an ERA of 3.56 and a 0.99 WHIP this season. In his first year as a full-time member of the rotation, Urquidy will be there for the postseason.
He is coming off one of his shakier performances, though. Urquidy was tagged for 6 hits and 4 earned runs through 5.1 innings versus the Angels on September 21. However, the offense came to help with 10 runs to give the ‘Stros a 10-5 win. In his previous three attempts, Urquidy has notched a 4.40 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.
He will have to deal with the third highest scoring club in baseball tonight. The Rays have scored 5.31 runs per 9 innings this season. They do a lot of fundamentals correctly, which has led to the Rays being one of the highest scoring teams in the majors. I can see this one hitting the double digits in a 6-4 or 6-5 final score at Minute Maid.