After a 6-2 loss in the opening game of the American League Division Series, the Tampa Bay Rays look to even the best-of-five-set against the Houston Astros. The Rays will head home tonight after the game.
Suffice it to say, in order for the Rays to defeat Houston with Gerrit Cole on the bump, they will need to play a cleaner game tonight. Tampa Bay walked five batters yesterday and committed a key error in the fifth inning when, against Chaz Roe, Yuli Gurriel popped up toward shallow right field. Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows, and Ji-Man Choi came together, yet the ball glanced off Lowe’s glove — on a ball that appeared to be an easier play for Meadows coming in — allowing two runs to score on the costly gaffe.
The New What Next
Blake Snell (6-8, 4.29 ERA) will get the start for the Rays, pitching opposite of Gerrit Cole (Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA).
Blake Snell allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four over 2-1/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday. Snell allowed both runs in the first inning but recovered to deliver 1-1/3 scoreless frames before his exit after 62 pitches (37 strikes, 60% strike rate). Snell continued to be on a limited pitch count, although he threw his longest outing since his return from the IL. The southpaw finished the regular season with a 4.29 ERA and 147 strikeouts through 107 innings. Snell is 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in six career starts against Houston.
Snell hopes to go five strong innings. The Rays are expected to rely heavily on the bullpen tonight, and they will have plenty of options available, including Yonny Chirinos and Ryan Yarbrough.
Gerrit Cole allowed one run on four hits and two walks while striking out 10 over five innings against the Angels on Sunday. Cole registered 20 swinging strikes and 14 called strikes on only 92 pitches in the win. It has been a great run for Cole, as he ended the season as the first pitcher in big-league history to record nine consecutive double-digit strikeout games. The 29-year-old finished the regular season with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts across 212-1/3 innings. Cole is 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA in four career starts against the Rays, and 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two starts against this season. Key Matchups: Jesus Aguilar (3-8, 2 RBI, BB), Ji-Man Choi (2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB), Travis d’Arnaud (4-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Yandy Diaz (2-3, HR, RBI), Tommy Pham (9-18, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI), Daniel Robertson (2-6), Joey Wendle (3-7, 3B, 3 RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays ALDS Game Two Lineup
- Diaz 3B
- Meadows LF
- Pham DH
- Choi 1B
- Garcia RF
- B. Lowe 2B
- d’Arnaud C
- Kiermaier CF
- Adames SS
— Avisail Garcia is expected to be back in the starting lineup for Tampa Bay tonight.
— Remember, head to either Al Lang Stadium (in downtown St. Petersburg), or Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (in Tampa) for the official team watch parties. The first pitch is set for 9:10.
Personally, I’ll be getting Rowdy at Al Lang Stadium (cough, location of the future home of the Tampa Bay Rays), although I hope to see evidence of lots of fans across the Bay Area!