After a 5-2 defeat of Houston on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays can clinch their second-ever World Series berth with a win tonight. Tampa Bay’s defense has played a huge role in their success thus far, including two defensive gems by Hunter Renfroe last night.
As Keegan Matheson (MLB.com) writes, Kevin Kiermaier — who later left the game with a left-hand contusion after getting hit by a 99.2 mph fastball — covered a lot of ground on the play highlighted above.
With runners on first and second, Correa drove a liner back up the middle that was fading and dropping to Kiermaier’s glove side as he raced in, covering 64 feet in 3.8 seconds. With a catch probability of 20%, as calculated by Statcast, it qualifies as a five-star catch for Kiermaier, which has come to be something we expect from the three-time Gold Glove Award winner in center field.— Keegan Matheson
The Rays made six hit-saving plays on Tuesday. Overall, of the Astros’ 27 well-struck balls put into play, only eight have gotten down for hits.
The stable has also been very good. Houston has been limited to a total of five runs over the first three contests or 1-1/3 runs per game. They are 4-24 wRISP and without a single RBI to their name.
Even so, the Astros have allowed just 11 runs or 3.67 runs per game, while 73% of the Rays’ runs have come in frames when Jose Altuve has committed an error.
Still, the Rays are primed to punch their ticket to the world series. Just once in the Championship Series format (38 years) has a team come back from a three-game deficit; in 2004, when Boston came back to beat the Yankees. The question is now when will they punch that ticket?
The New What Next
Tyler Glasnow (5-1, 4.08 ERA) will get the start on Wednesday, pitching opposite of consummate weirdo, Zach Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).
Tyler Glasnow opened game five of the ALDS on short rest (two days) and posted two scoreless innings, allowing just a walk, yet throwing just 13 of 27 pitches for strikes (48% strike rate, 31% SwStr). Glasnow walked Brett Gardner on five pitches to open the third before Kyle Higashioka struck out looking. Glasnow was pulled after one time through the Yankees lineup. His scoreless outing followed a 5 IP/4 R/10 K start on Tuesday. Glasnow is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in one career regular-season start against Houston and went 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in the ALDS last season.
Zach Greinke allowed one run on two hits and three walks while striking out one batter over four innings against the Twins in the first game of the AL Wildcard Series. Greinke got a short hook (79 pitches) after stumbling to a 6.07 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in his final five starts of the regular season. Then, in his second postseason start, Greinke allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings against Oakland. Even so, the Astros won both games. This season, right-handers have hit Greinke better than lefties to the tune of a .305 BA/5 HR/.849 OPS line vs. a .206 BA/1 HR/.529 OPS line. However, southpaw hitting batters have had slightly more success over his career. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (1-4, 2B), Ji-Man Choi (2-4, HR), Manuel Margot (7-16, 2 HR), Hunter Renfroe (6-21, 3 HR)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 10/14/20 Starting Lineup
- Meadows RF
- B. Lowe 2B
- Arozarena LF
- Choi 1B
- Margot CF
- Wendle 3B
- Tsutsugo DH
- Adames SS
- Zunino C
— Given that Ryan Thompson and Aaron Loup have worked three straight days, while Pete Fairbanks has pitched three total innings over the last two days, they are unlikely to be available tonight. Diego Castillo has worked in five of the last eight games.