Chris Archer (10-9, 2.92 ERA), attemping to pick up his 200th strikeout of the season, takes the hill for the Tampa Bay Rays (59-61) as they square off against Collin McHugh (13-6, 4.09 ERA) and the Houston Astros (66-55) in the last of a four-game series at Minute Maid Park. The Astros won the last game 3-2 and Houston leads the series 2-1. Action begins at 8:10 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 20 and can be seen on SUN and RTSW.
McHugh pitched 7.0 innings in his last outing, surrendering one run, striking out seven and walking two in a 4-2 defeat to the Tigers. George Springer (.264, 43 Rs, 13 HRs, 29 RBIs, 14 SBs) went 1 for 2 yesterday with one run and one stolen base. Archer went 5.1 innings, surrendering seven runs (one unearned), striking out four and walking three in a 12-4 defeat to the Rangers in his most recent start. Logan Forsythe (.282, 48 Rs, 13 HRs, 51 RBIs, 8 SBs) has been successful at the plate for the Rays, going 2 for 5 yesterday with one run and one stolen base.
Houston is a narrow -109 favorite at home against Tampa Bay. According to the oddsmakers, the Over/Under (O/U) is currently seven runs. The Astros have an overall money line of +445 and a record as the favorite of 38-28. The Astros have seen a decline in scoring as of late, averaging 2.7 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.3 runs per game. The Astros lead the MLB in home runs with 164. Houston is one of the best in the MLB in terms of steals, swiping 92 bases. As for the pitchers, opposing offenses have been stifled by the Astros, who have a team ERA of only 3.40. The Astros are the second-best team in the league at limiting hits and walks to their opponents, recording a WHIP of 1.19 so far this season.
In games where it is the underdog, Tampa Bay has a 30-35 record and an overall money line of -323. When it comes to preventing batters from getting hits, the Rays are the best in the AL with an average of 7.9 hits allowed per game. The Rays have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an AL-best 8.3 strikeouts per game, making them one of the top five teams in the league.
The Rays lead the season series, 4-2. The Astros have a 42-35 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Archer takes the mound. McHugh (RHP) will be on the hill against the Rays, who have a 38-47 record against right-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - Hou, O/U - Over
In their last game, the Rays lost by a margin of one run. The Astros are 18-19 in one-run games. The Rays have an 18-22 record in close games.
The Astros are coming into this game after allowing one walk during their last outing. The Rays have a 12-21 record when opponents give up that many walks or fewer.
It looks like the Astros have a slight leg up on the Rays, as the Astros have won their last two games while the Rays have lost their last two.
When they outhit their opponents, the Rays are 42-17. The Astros have a 47-13 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 25th, Tampa Bay sits near the bottom of the league in runs, scoring 450 this season. Houston ranks in the top 10 at ninth with 523.
Ranking 20th, Tampa Bay is in the bottom half of the league in walks, notching 321 this season. Houston ranks in the top 10 at seventh with 368.
The Astros are 54-34 in games where they hit one or more home runs. The Rays are 43-32 when they hit at least one homer.