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Houston Astros vs Tampa Bay Rays: ALDS playoffs preview

jlyons
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 22: Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros and the team acknowledges the crowd after winning the American League West Division after defeating the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 22: Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros and the team acknowledges the crowd after winning the American League West Division after defeating the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park on September 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Bullpens

Astros:

ERA – 3.75, Saves- 47, IP – 555.0, BB – 197, K – 608, BAA – .226

Rays:

ERA – 3.66, Saves- 46, IP -772.0, BB – 262, K – 825, BAA – .231

Again, two teams that are very similar according to the numbers. The main difference in the relievers for both teams is based on how long the starting pitchers went into games and the actual use of the starting pitchers compared to using the opener method, as well as the injuries.

The Astros starters often went deeper into games allowing the bullpen to gain rest, while the Rays bullpen was far more taxed due to the lack of innings pitched by the rotation. During the first round of the playoffs, it can go either way.

One team has to worry about their starters being tired and overworked, and the other team has to worry about their bullpen being overworked. Both bullpens and rotations on the season had very good years, ranking among the top teams in baseball.

The Offense

Astros:

H – 1538, 2B – 323, 3B – 28, HR – 288, TB – 2781, RBI – 891

BA – .274, OBP – .352, SLG – .495, OPS – .848

Rays: 

H – 1427, 2B – 291, 3B – 29, HR – 217, TB – 2427, RBI – 730

BA – .254, OBP – .325, SLG – .431, OPS – .757

When you look at the statistics, they’re not really close. The Astros already had players like George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman, then they added Michael Brantley in the offseason. Mid-season they called up Yordan Alvarez. They are stacked. There is no break in this lineup.

The real factor in this series is going to be, can the Rays pitching keep it together long enough to stop this goliath of an offense. Can the Rays eke out 1-2 runs off of Verlander, Cole, or Greinke, and can they keep the Astros hitters at bay long enough to win the game? Will the Rays have enough pitching in their arsenal to hold off one of the best offenses of all time?

Crazier things have happened in a playoff series, but if the Rays are going to somehow pull off a major upset, they have to find some way to keep this train of hitters from getting up too early in the game to where it’s impossible to come back. Otherwise, this series will be short, sweet, and over in three games.

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