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Rays vs. Astros Odds, Picks & Predictions: Rays’ Bullpen Gives Them Game 3 Edge (Tuesday, Oct. 13)

Rays vs. Astros Odds, Picks & Predictions: Rays’ Bullpen Gives Them Game 3 Edge (Tuesday, Oct. 13) article feature image

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Cash.

Rays vs. Astros Odds

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Rays Odds -110 [BET NOW]
Astros Odds -110 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 8.5 (-105/-115) [BET NOW]
First Pitch 8:40 p.m. ET

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After an offensive explosion in the previous round against Oakland, the Astros’ bats have gone quiet in the first two games of the American League Championship Series. The Rays’ arms have held Houston to just three runs through the first two games, which has put the Astros’ backs against the wall, down 2-0. They’ll turn to Jose Urquidy with lefty Ryan Yarbrough set to start Game 3 for Kevin Cash’s Tampa Bay club and Tyler Glasnow looming in Game 4.

It’s now or never for the Astros if they want to make this a series.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Offensive Matchup

Houston Astros

Houston has struggled offensively coming into the postseason, accumulating a .311 wOBA and 100 wRC+. The Astros’ offense exploded during the series against Oakland, scoring 33 runs and hitting for a .345 average. They haven’t really struggled hitting the ball this series, but they’ve left way too many men on base. Houston has outhit the Rays, 19-10, but has left 38 men on base through the first two games.

Houston has also been below average against left-handed pitching, ranking 22nd in MLB in wOBA. However, the Astros can’t continue to leave this many guys on base and should be able to get to Yarbrough.

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay has done enough offensive through the first two games of the series. During the regular season, the Rays were 10th in the MLB with a .325 wOBA and a 109 wRC+, so they are a difficult lineup to get through.

The Rays are an interesting team, due to the fact they rank 24th against fastballs but tend to crush off-speed pitches. Urquidy is mainly a fastball pitcher, so Tampa Bay could be set up for a difficult matchup.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Ryan Yarbrough vs. Jose Urquidy

2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Ryan Yarbrough, LHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Ryan Yarbrough has been pretty average for the Rays this season, posting a 3.56 ERA and 4.33 xFIP. He pitched five innings out of the bullpen in Game 4 against the Yankees and gave up two runs on six hits, including this bomb to Gleyber Torres.

Gleyber Torres DELIVERS with a two run home run! We NEEDED these runs

— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) October 9, 2020

Yarbrough has really struggled with his cutter this season, allowing a .315 average and a .352 wOBA this season. He then goes to a changeup and sinker as his two secondary pitches, which have both been pretty effective this year, allowing a combined .225 average. He’ll have to be on point with those secondary pitches if he wants to cool down this Astros lineup that is hitting .276 so far this series.

Jose Urquidy, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Urquidy was a relative unknown last season before bursting onto the scene in the playoffs. He tossed five clutch shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series and saved the Astros from going behind 3-1 in the series. However, so far this postseason, he’s been nothing but a disaster, allowing five runs on seven hits, including four home runs in 8 2/3 innings.

The 2020 version of Urquidy was a house of cards just waiting to fall. He’s posted a stellar 2.73 ERA through 29 2/3 regular season innings, but his xFIP is over 2.5 runs higher at 5.36. Urquidy has been successful with his fastball and changeup, but he’s due for some negative regression, which we are starting to see.

Bullpen Matchup

After starting the season as one of the worst in baseball, the Astros’ bullpen has steadily improved over the second half of the season. However, the relief corps finished with the 14th best xFIP in baseball (4.43) and hasn’t provided Houston with an advantage in this series.

Tampa Bay has one of the best bullpens in baseball, collectively ranking second in ERA (3.37) and sixth in xFIP (4.16). The Rays’ bullpen has been stellar in this series, allowing only two runs in eight innings.

Projections and Pick

With how good the Rays’ bullpen has been, I think they’re undervalued in Game 3. Jose Urquidy is starting to show signs of negative regression and he could very well implode on Tuesday. I’ll take the Rays at -110 to grab a 3-0 series lead and would play it up to -126.

The PICK: Rays -110

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