Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays-Astros ALDS Game 3: What we learned

Thomas Bassinger: Tampa Bay finally breaks through against Houston’s vaunted pitching rotation.
Kevin Kiermaier, right, celebrates his three-run homer with Travis d'Arnaud during the second inning of the Rays' 10-3 win over the Astros on Monday. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Oct. 7
Updated Oct. 8

ST. PETERSBURG — Observations from the Rays’ Game 3 win over the Astros on Monday in their American League Division Series:

1. In the first two games of the series, Astros starters Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole didn’t allow a runner past first base in a combined 14⅔ innings of work. When Zack Greinke sent the Rays down in order on nine pitches in the first inning, it seemed as if Game 3 would be more of the same. ...

2. … Until Greinke left a 2-1 pitch out over the plate against Kevin Kiermaier in the bottom of the second inning. Kiermaier changed the direction of the game when he, in his first career postseason at-bat at Tropicana Field, drove Greinke’s 87-mph changeup 407 feet to right-center field for a three-run home run. He had been 1-for-11 in the playoffs.

3. Greinke struggled to locate his offspeed stuff. In the bottom of the third, Ji-Man Choi launched another changeup 404 feet. In the bottom of the fourth, Brandon Lowe smacked a hanging curveball for the Rays’ third home run of the game.

4. For the first time since the Diamondbacks traded him to the Astros, Greinke didn’t get through four innings. He hadn’t allowed three home runs in a game since opening day and in a postseason game since Oct. 2, 2011.

5. The Rays scored more runs Monday (10) than they had in their previous three postseason games combined (eight). Tampa Bay hadn’t scored 10 runs in a playoff game in more than a decade. On Oct. 14, 2008, the Rays beat the Red Sox 13-4 in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series.

6. Of Tampa Bay’s 18 runs this postseason, 11 have come via home runs.

7. With the Rays facing elimination, Charlie Freakin’ Morton didn’t freak out. He wasn’t sharp or efficient, but he bounced back after allowing a first-inning home run to Jose Altuve. He also clamped down after surrendering a leadoff double to Altuve in the top of the third inning. He left the game after only five innings and 93 pitches, which you would think keeps him in play if Tampa Bay forces a Game 5.

8. Morton allowed one run on three hits and struck out nine. His nine strikeouts match the franchise postseason record, set by Matt Garza in the 2008 ALCS. Morton also joins Garza, as well as James Shields and Andy Sonnanstine, as the only Rays pitchers to win two games in a single postseason.

9. It made sense that Astros manager A.J. Hinch brought Wade Miley into the game to face Austin Meadows in the bottom of the fourth inning. It set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup. Miley had held left-handed batters to a .207 average during the regular season and had allowed only 10 extra-base hits. Meadows, however, went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI against him. The winner: Meadows, who hit a two-run double to deep center field.

10. The Rays have won more games this month than the Bucs.

Contact Thomas Bassinger at tbassinger@tampabay.com. Follow @tometrics.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  2. Davey Martinez gained valuable experience as a coach behind Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. But when Maddon exited, the Rays bypassed him for a "new voice," Kevin Cash. Tampa Bay Times
    After failing to land a half-dozen manager jobs, including with the Rays, Martinez and Nats ended up a good match.
  3. Jose Altuve prepares to be mobbed by his teammates at home plate as Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman leaves the field after giving up a walkoff two-run homer to the Astros second baseman in the ninth inning to win Game 6 of the AL Championship Series 6-4 on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Astros win the series 4-2 and advance to the World Series to play the Washington Nationals. MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    New York ties the ALCS Game 6 in the top of the ninth with a two-run HR before the diminutive second baseman wins it with a blast off Aroldis Chapman, putting Houston in the World Series.
  4. In 1968, slugger Frank Howard, known as the "Washington Monument," proved to be one of the few bright spots for the Washington Senators. AP
    The Nationals’ improbable postseason run rekindles memories of the woeful Washington Senators
  5. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, on left, along with Erik Neander, center, senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager, and Chaim Bloom, senior vice president of baseball operations, address the media during a press conference at Tropicana Field Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays Tales: Research now, action to come as Rays get caught up after playoff run. Plus, TV rating info and rumblings.
  6. The Astros’ George Springer signals foul, but the delirious crowd in the rightfield stands at Yankee Stadium knows better as the ball hit by Aaron Hicks caroms off the foul pole for a three-run homer in the first inning of Game 5 of the AL Championship Series on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. FRANK FRANKLIN II  |  AP
    After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, New York slugs two home runs in the bottom half of the inning and cuts the series lead to 3-2. Game 6 is tonight in Houston.
  7. An emotional CC Sabathia is helped off the field during the eighth inning in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series against the Astros on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. The 39-year-old left-hander injures his pitching shoulder and is taken off the Yankees' postseason roster, thus ending his 19-year major-league career. MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    The 39-year-old left-hander is taken off New York’s playoff roster, thus ending his 19-year big-league career.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Killorn (17) and right wing Luke Witkowski (28) celebrate with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) after the Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout in an NHL hockey game Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) ELISE AMENDOLA  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: There was bad news Thursday in the Tampa Bay penalty box, for USF’s Blake Barnett, for the Yankees and the NFL’s reigning MVP.
  9. Astros manager A.J. Hinch answers questions during a news conference before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. FRANK FRANKLIN II  |  AP
    A.J. Finch calls the accusations, including one of his team signaling by whistling, a “joke.”
  10. Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez raises the NLCS trophy after Game 4 of the baseball National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Washington. The Nationals won 7-4 to win the series 4-0. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    They’re easy to like, familiar-looking and also connected to Montreal. Most importantly, they’re not the Astros or Yankees.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement