69.8 F
Los Angeles

Sizzling Astros shoot for series sweep of Rays


The Houston Astros have come to Florida and played like the best club in the American League.

Right now, the Tampa Bay Rays would put up no argument to dispute that.

Blanked in their first two games against Houston, the Rays will oppose the American League West champs in the finale of a three-game series on Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

While the Astros (98-51) are know for power bats, it’s their pitching that has dominated the first two contests in 4-0 and 5-0 wins over the Rays (82-66).

“It’s good pitching, no doubt,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “It’s been two quiet nights. The guys know that we have to turn it around. Hopefully, it starts sooner than later.”

Not only was there disappointment with a second consecutive scoreless night — a first for the Rays since Aug. 11-12, 2017, against Cleveland — but there was a hiccup with Shane McClanahan, who just recently returned from the 15-day injured list.

The southpaw appeared to hurt his neck in the fifth inning and pleaded unsuccessfully with Cash to let him stay in the game.

The skipper wasn’t overly concerned and said he didn’t believe McClanahan’s neck ailment was anything serious.

“I think he’s in a pretty good spot,” Cash said. “He was adamant that he did not want to come out. It’s OK for him to be mad at me.”

In the finale, Cash and pitching coach Kyle Snyder will be looking for starter Corey Kluber (10-9, 4.44 ERA) to compete with a lot more precision on his pitches.

Over his past two starts, the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner has been battered for 10 runs — the same amount he let in across five starts and 28 1/3 innings in June. In starts Sept. 10 against the New York Yankees and Friday against the Texas Rangers, he yielded 17 hits and in 6 1/3 innings.

Kluber has made 10 career starts and one relief appearance against Houston, going 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 65 1/3 innings. However, he hasn’t opposed the Astros since 2019.

While the Houston pitching has been outstanding, the Astros’ bats have been sufficient.

Jose Altuve has five hits, five runs, a homer and walk through the first two games of the series. Jeremy Pena hit a three-run homer and a single on Tuesday, while Kyle Tucker reached the 100-RBI mark for the first time.

“I love it,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s something that a lot of people never get to, including me. I was pulling for him.”

Lance McCullers Jr., a native of the Tampa Bay area, will close out the series for Houston in front of family and friends.

A prep sensation at Tampa powerhouse Jesuit High School where alumni such as Hall of Fame manager Al Lopez and three-time World Series champion Lou Pinella learned the game, McCullers (3-1, 2.34 ERA) has allowed two runs or fewer in five of six starts since making his 2022 debut on Aug. 13.

In five career starts against the Rays, he is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA. At the Rays’ domed home, McCullers is 2-2 with a 2.77 ERA in four outings.


How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Latest articles

Astros’ Framber Valdez looks to beat Guardians again

Left-hander Framber Valdez looks to remain unbeaten in his career against the Guardians on Friday...

MLB 30 30 CLUB

This is exclusive list of 30 30 club MLB members. The most dynamic MLB players seem...

Report: Rangers expected to pursue LHP Carlos

The Rangers will be looking to add some pitching this offseason and evidently isn’t ruling...

Rookies take center stage for A’s in matchup...

The Oakland Athletics are going full speed ahead with their youth movement. The A's could have...
[tds_leads input_placeholder="Your email address" btn_horiz_align="content-horiz-center" pp_checkbox="yes" pp_msg="SSd2ZSUyMHJlYWQlMjBhbmQlMjBhY2NlcHQlMjB0aGUlMjAlM0NhJTIwaHJlZiUzRCUyMiUyMyUyMiUzRVByaXZhY3klMjBQb2xpY3klM0MlMkZhJTNFLg==" title_color="#000000" f_title_font_transform="uppercase" f_title_font_spacing="-1" btn_color="#ffffff" btn_bg="var(--today-news-accent)" btn_bg_h="#600000" f_title_font_family="394" f_title_font_weight="700" title_tag="" title_text="Subscribe for tips" tdc_css="eyJhbGwiOnsibWFyZ2luLWJvdHRvbSI6IjAiLCJkaXNwbGF5IjoiIn19"]

More like this

Assessing the Chicago White Sox’s offseason outlook

Aside from a new manager, the White Sox don’t seem destined for a major...

Offseason outlook for the Los Angeles Angels

Despite the continued excellence of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, the Angels had another...

Previewing the 2022-23 free agent class: Designated hitter

Obviously, any hitter is capable of serving as a DH. Many of the players...

World Series Houston Astros vs. Philadelphia

The Phillies are red-hot, but the Astros are even hotter. Houston has yet to...

Mariners could be in position to deal from

Going into next year, the Mariners have considerable depth in their rotation. Luis Castillo...

Guardians have some tough middle infield decisions to make

Two months ago, I wrote about Andres Gimenez’s 2022 breakout and how it was a...