ON THE CUSP—In postseason history, teams leading 3-0 in a best-of-seven have gone on to win the series 37 of 38 times (97.4 pct.)…the only team
to come back from a 3-0 deficit was the 2004 Red Sox (ALCS vs. NYY)…
the Rays are attempting to become the sixth team to sweep the American League Championship Series since its best-of-seven format began
in 1985…they would join the 1988 Athletics, 1990 Athletics, 2006 Tigers,
2012 Tigers and 2014 Royals…the Rays are attempting to sweep a multigame postseason series for the second time, but the only previous time
was a best-of-three 2020 Wild Card Series at Tropicana Field (vs. TOR).
— The Rays are a win away from their second AL pennant (2008),
but the only current Rays player or uniformed personnel who witnessed them winning it in 2008 from field level (Game 7, at Tropicana Field) was Kevin Cash, who was a Red Sox catcher at the time.
— The Rays have won six of their past seven postseason games since
losing Game 1 to the Yankees…the Rays are 24-22 all-time in the
postseason, 8-2 in 2020 and 10-3 since Game 3 of the 2019 ALDS…
including the end of the regular season, they are 17-4 since Sep 17.
— Combining regular season and postseason, the Rays have only lost
once in their last 18 series since Aug 4, going 13-1-4 in series play.
The Astros will try to stave off elimination tonight in Game 4 of the American
League Championship Series at Petco Park against the Rays…to do so, the Astros will turn to 17-year veteran RHP Zack Greinke, who’s making his 19th
career postseason start, this time opposite RHP Tyler Glasnow and the Rays.
GREINKE THIS POSTSEASON: The Astros will start RHP Zack Greinke tonight, who has two starts this postseason, Game 1 of the Wild Card Series at
MIN (1ER/4IP) and Game 4 of the ALDS vs. OAK (4ER/4.2IP)…this will be Greinke’s second career postseason start against the Rays, as he started Game
3 of the 2019 ALDS at TB (6ER/3.2IP).
HE’S DUE: Greinke has gone 3-6 with a 4.29 ERA (48ER/100.2IP) and ranks tied for third among active pitchers with 18 career postseason starts, trailing only RHP Justin Verlander (30) and LHP Clayton Kershaw (27) in that category…Greinke has gone 10 postseason starts without earning a win dating to his last postseason victory in Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS vs. NYM…the MLB record is 11
consecutive postseason starts without a win, streaks authored by LHP David Price (2010-18), RHP Tim Hudson (2002-14) and LHP Al Leiter (1997-2000).
VS. GLASNOW: RHP Tyler Glasnow has been
great this postseason for the Rays, going 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA and posting a dominant 20 strikeouts in his 13.1 innings…he last pitched in Game 5 of the ALDS, starting on two days rest, and tossed 2.1 scoreless frames…the Astros have experience against Glasnow in the postseason, having defeated him twice in the ALDS last year in Games 1 and 5, in which he allowed six runs in 7.0 innings for a 0-2 record and a 7.71 ERA.
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: This is the Astros 14th appearance in the postseason in club history in what is the 59th year of the franchise that began in
1962…this group of Astros has won a postseason series in four straight seasons (2017-20), leading all MLB teams in postseason games (53) and wins (30) in
that time frame…in both categories, the Astros top the Dodgers (43g, 25 wins) and Yankees (34g, 18 wins).
LCS HISTORY: This marks the Astros fourth straight trip to the ALCS and their eighth appearance overall in a League Championship Series (1980, 1986, 2004-05, 2017-20)…they are the third team in AL history and the fifth team in Major League history to advance to four straight LCS (since 1969)…the other clubs to do so: the Cardinals (2011-14), Yankees (1998-2001), Braves
(1991-99) and A’s (1971-75).
THE WILL TO WIN—Last night the Rays overcame a 1-0 deficit, their
third comeback win of the postseason after an AL-most 20 come-from behind wins in the regular season…the Rays are 3-2 this postseason when
their opponent scores first after going an AL-best 15-14 in the regular season…last night was the second time in club history the Rays won a postseason game without hitting a home run, following Game 2 of the 2008
World Series vs. PHI…combining regular season and postseason, the Rays
are 15-6 (.714) when held without a homer, and their 14-5 (.737) mark in
the regular season was the best since the 1906 Cubs went 99-34 (.744).
— The Rays have been outhit, 26-18, this series, but they are 3-2 this
postseason when outhit by their opponent…they are 3-1 when
held to 4 hits (or fewer) and 3-2 when scoring 3 runs (or fewer).
— The Rays have 3 wins this postseason when striking out 13 times
(or more), the most for a team in a single postseason in major league
history…prior to this season, the Rays had never won a postseason
game on 13 SO (or more)…all three of these wins came in succession: Game 5 vs. NYY, Game 1 vs. HOU and Game 2 vs. HOU.
CLOSE SHAVES—Between the regular season and postseason, 38 of the
club’s 70 games (54.3 pct.) have been decided by 2 runs (or fewer)…the
Rays are 28-10 (.737) in them, going 5-0 in the postseason in addition to a
majors-best 23-10 (.697) in the regular season…the Rays are 16-5 (.762) in
1-run games, including 2-0 this postseason and 15-3 (.833) since Aug 7.
— Combining regular season and postseason, the Rays have a majorleague-record 13 different pitchers with a save and are 35-1, 32-0
and 39-0 when leading after 6, 7 and 8 innings, respectively.
— Since July 28, 2019, the Rays have won 62 straight games when
leading after 7 innings, the longest active streak in the majors.
PITCHING PROPERLY—The Rays have allowed 2 runs (or fewer) in six of
10 postseason games, including four straight for the first time in franchise
history…this matches the longest such streak in the last 13 postseasons,
and they are the first to do it since the 2017 Dodgers (4)—the last team to
allow 2 runs (or fewer) in five straight is the 2007 Red Sox…the Rays have
a 3.03 ERA (89-IP, 30-ER) in the postseason, including a 3.15 ERA (45.2-IP,
16-ER) from their starters and a 2.91 ERA (43.1-IP, 14-ER) from relievers.
— The Rays have held the Astros to 5 runs and 4 HR (all solo) this
series, after the Astros scored 33 runs and hit 12 HR in the Division
Series (4 games vs. OAK)…similarly, the Rays held the Yankees to
24 runs and 10 HR in the 5-game Division Series, after the Yankees
scored 22 runs and hit 7 HR in their Wild Card sweep at CLE.
— Opponents are batting .167 (11-for-66) against Rays pitching with
RISP this postseason…the Rays have held the Astros to .167 (4-for24) with RISP—and none of these 4 hits have resulted in a run.
— The Rays bullpen has stranded all 21 IR this postseason…according
to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the longest streak of inherited
runners stranded to start a postseason, passing the 2006 Cardinals
(17)…in the last 7 games (beginning with Game 2 of the ALDS vs.
NYY), the Rays bullpen has pitched to a 2.18 ERA (33-IP, 8-ER).