DEVELOPING, 12:04: Cash and several Rays spoke of the confidence they have with Morton on the mound, and how that should help them today. Cash said he thinks Morton should have the advantage over the Astros hitters in terms of familiarity.
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg was excited to have postseason games back at the Trop for the first time since 2013.
"It’s nice to have one back here,'' he said. "It’s been our goal since the off-season and certainly since the beginning of spring training. A lot of things have to break right for it to happen. I think we did a lot of good things this year, and we get to stand here on the field in the division series.''
With the upper deck reopened and some tarps rolled up to increase capacity to more than 32.000 the atmosphere will be a bit different than most Rays games.
"It’s full, and it’s Rays fans,'' he said. "So we’ve had opening days, as recently as last year I think with more people than this. For recent opening days we might have had Boston or New York in or whatever so that accounts for it. So I would think, Houston fans travel well and there are a lot of them, but you’re looking at 30,000 Rays fans today and I think the building is going to react beautifully to it.''
Though today’s game is close to selling out, Sternberg said sales for a potential Game 4 are “significantly” less than today.
Sternberg said he hasn’t had any recent talks with St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman about the plan to split future seasons in Montreal as he is focused just on how the team is doing in the postseason. "One lane on this,'' Sternberg said. "It’s all baseball.''
DEVELOPING, 12:01: Cash said the Rays are sticking with the same lineup, and specifically Diaz, because they are confident he is one of their best weapons and will get going. Worth noting, Diaz hasn’t played on the Trop turf since his July 22 left foot injury and wasn’t among the players taking ground balls this morning, though he did during the last week of the season. It seems like a gamble with a ground ball pitcher in Morton on the mound.
Here is the Astros lineup:
DEVELOPING: The Rays will use the same lineup for today’s third and potentially final game of the best-of-five ALDS vs. Houston as they did in Game 2, the one in which they struck out 17 times and scored just one run.
That means right-handed hitting Yandy Diaz is again in the lineup, against right-handed starter Zack Greinke, and lefty swingers Joey Wendle and Eric Sogard are on the bench.
Here is the Rays lineup:
B. Lowe 2b
Astros lineup when available.