RH Charlie Morton (2-0, 0.90) vs. RH Lance McCullers Jr. (0-1, 4.09)
Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020  First Pitch: 8:37 p.m. Location: Petco Park TV: TBS  Radio: ESPN Radio.

WINNER TAKE ALL—With a win tonight, the Rays would advance to
the World Series for the second time in franchise history (2008)…tonight
is the eighth “winner take all” game in club history, with the Rays going
5-2 in the previous seven…it is their fourth in the last two postseasons
(2019-20), following the 2020 Division Series vs. NYY (2-1 win), 2019 Division Series at HOU (6-1 loss) and 2019 Wild Card Game at OAK (5-1 win)…
the Rays are the ninth team in major league history to play a “winner take
all” game in both the Division Series and League Championship Series,
joining the 2017 Yankees (lost LCS), 2012 Giants (won World Series), 2012
Cardinals (lost LCS), 2004 Astros (lost LCS), 2003 Cubs (lost LCS), 2003 Red
Sox (lost LCS), 1981 Dodgers (won World Series) and 1981 Expos (lost LCS).
– Tonight is the second Game 7 in club history, with the Rays going
4,380 days in between…the first was a 3-1 win over the Red Sox in
the 2008 ALCS resulting in the Rays only trip to the World Series.
– This is the eighth AL Championship Series to go to a Game 7 since
it was changed to a best-of-seven format prior to the 1985 season.
– Tonight is the fourth time in Rays history they will bat last in a
“winner take all” game, and they are 2-1 in the previous 3 games.
– The Rays are 9-5 all-time when facing elimination, including 4-1
over the 2019-20 postseasons…over the last two postseasons, the
Rays have hit 13 HR in their 5 games when facing elimination.
– The Rays are 24-25 all-time in the postseason and 8-5 in 2020.
– 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 Rays have lost three consecutive postseason games for the
first time since 2011 (3)…their only longer postseason losing streak
spanned the 2008-10 postseasons (5)…in the 2020 regular season,
the Rays lost more than three straight once: July 29–Aug 2 (5).
TAKE TWO—This is the second straight postseason the Rays and Astros
are playing each other in a “winner take all” game…this is the first time in
major league history two teams met in a Game 5 of the Division Series one
season, and then went to a Game 7 of the League Championship Series
the very next season…according to the Elias Sports Bureau, teams have
faced each other in a “winner take all” game in back-to-back seasons seven times, most recently the Athletics and Tigers in the 2012-13 Division
Series and the Yankees and Red Sox in the 2003-04 Championship Series.
– This series is the second best-of-seven in major league history to
go to a decisive Game 7 after one team held a 3-0 series lead…the
only other time was the 2004 AL Championship Series, which saw
the Red Sox complete the series comeback against the Yankees…
in postseason history, teams are 37-1 in best-of-seven series when
leading 3-0, 74-13 when leading 3-1 and 73-32 when leading 3-2.
– The Rays would need a win tonight to avoid largest upset by
regular-season winning pct. in postseason history…there was a
184-point difference between the Rays (.667) and Astros (.483).
– Tonight’s games will see the AL pennant won by either the Rays
or Astros and includes the possibility of a Braves clinch…in major
league history, there have been 13 times (and 10 times since the
League Championship Series began in 1969) where both pennants
were won on the same day, but the last time was on Oct 14, 1992.
ABOUT THE OFFENCE—In the League Championship Series, the Rays
are batting .199 (38-for-191) with 70 SO…according to ESPN Stats & Info,
starting with Game 4 of the Division Series the Rays have hit .230 (or
below) in eight consecutive games, the longest such streak in postseason
history…only three teams have ever won a postseason series with 70 SO
(or more): 2018 Dodgers in the NLCS vs. MIL (82), 2013 Red Sox in the ALCS
vs. DET (73) and 2001 Diamondbacks in the World Series vs. NYY (70).
– The Rays are batting .179 (12-for-67) with RISP this postseason, including .140 (6-for-43) in the last 8 games and .171 (6-for-35) in the
LCS…they are hitless in their last 12 AB with RISP, with the last hit
coming in Game 4 (Ji-Man Choi infield single)…their last run-scoring hit with RISP came in Game 3 (Hunter Renfroe 2-run double).
– The Rays have scored a combined 24 runs (3.0 R/G) in their last 8
games, with 3 runs (or fewer) in five of 8 games over that stretch.
– 71.7 pct. (38 of 53) of the Rays runs this postseason have come on
home runs, compared to 41.5 pct. (120 of 289) during the regular
season…22.6 pct. (12 of 53) of their runs this postseason have come
on solo homers…the Rays have hit 23 HR, most in the majors…the
Rays have increased their HR/G from 1.33 in the regular season to
1.77 in the postseason, but their R/G has dropped from 4.82 to 4.08.
– Petco Park has seen 48 HR in 14 games this postseason…teams are
28-4 this postseason when they outhomer their opponent—but
the Rays have won once when outhomered and lost twice when
outhomering their opponent…Games 5-6 marked the first time the
Rays lost back-to-back games when hitting 2 HR (or more) in each
since July 16-18, 2019 at NYY (2), and first time in the postseason
since the 2011 ALDS…the Rays are 5-2 this postseason when they
outhomer their opponent and 5-3 when hitting 2 HR (or more), after going 20-2 and 20-4, respectively, during the regular season.
– Last night was the first time the Rays lost a postseason game when
scoring first since Game 4 of the 2013 ALDS vs. BOS (led 1-0, lost
3-1)…they fell to 5-1 this postseason when scoring first, after going
a major-league-best 25-6 (.806) when doing so in the reg. season.
THE LONG BALL—The Rays have allowed 21 HR this postseason, tied for
most in the majors…76.2 pct. (16 of 21) of their homers allowed have been
solo, and 61.7 pct. (29 of 47) of their runs allowed have come on homers…
the Rays have allowed at least 1 HR in 12 consecutive postseason games,
starting with Game 2 of the Wild Card Series vs. TOR…this is their longest
such streak since July 27–Aug 10, 2019 (12) and is tied for the 5th-longest
streak in postseason history, and longest since the 2016-17 Dodgers (18).
– In the League Championship Series, the Rays have allowed four
1st-inning homers, one shy of their total from the 2008-19 postseasons combined…the four 1st-inning homers are tied for the 2ndmost allowed in a postseason series—the only team to allow five
in a single series was the Red Sox in the 2008 ALCS vs. the Rays.
– 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.
CHARLIE 2.0—Charlie Morton has made 3 apps (2 starts) in “winner take
all” games, going 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA (14-IP, 2-R/1-ER) in them…he is the
only pitcher in major league history to record the win in three “winner
take all” games, winning the 2019 Wild Card Game at OAK, Game 7 of the
2017 World Series at LAD (with HOU) and Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS vs.
NYY (with HOU)…in addition, his four career wins in potential elimination games are tied with five others for the most in major league history.
– Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. both pitched in Game 7 of the
2017 World Series at LAD and Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS vs. NYY…
according to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first duo in postseason history to pitch in the same “winner take all” game as teammates, then start against each other in a “winner take all” game.
– Morton will become the first pitcher to start a Game 7 against a
former team since NYY Roger Clemens in the 2003 ALCS vs. BOS.
– Morton is unbeaten in his last eight postseason apps (7 starts) since
Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS vs. NYY (with Houston), going 6-0 with
a 1.67 ERA (37.2-IP, 7-ER) over that stretch…in Game 2 vs. HOU, he
became the fifth pitcher in postseason history to start and win four
straight decisions (with no relief apps in between) and allow 1 ER
(or fewer) in each outing…he joined PHI/ARI Curt Schilling (5) in
1993–2001, NYY Masahiro Tanaka (4) in 2017-19, NYY Whitey
Ford (4) in 1960-61 and NYG Christy Matthewson (4) in 1905-11.
MAR-GOAT—Last night Manuel Margot became the first player in major
league history to have a multi-HR game in the postseason after hitting
1 HR (or fewer) during the regular season, according to the Elias Sports
Bureau…it was the sixth multi-HR game in Rays postseason history, first
since Yandy Díaz in the 2019 AL Wild Card Game at OAK…Margot has
5 HR and 11 RBI this postseason, compared to 1 HR and 11 RBI during the
regular season…since RBI became an official stat (1920), Margot and NYY
Giancarlo Stanton in 2020 are the only players to record at least 10 RBI
in the regular season and match or exceed their total in the postseason.

2020 ALDS Game 5 vs. NYY W, 2-1 Diego Castillo Aroldis Chapman —
2019 ALDS Game 5 at HOU L, 1-6 Gerrit Cole Tyler Glasnow 43,418
2019 AL Wild Card Game at OAK W, 5-1 Charlie Morton Sean Manaea 54,005
2013 AL Wild Card Game at CLE W, 4-0 Alex Cobb Danny Salazar 43,579
2013 AL Tiebreaker Game at TEX W, 5-2 David Price Martín Pérez 42,796
2010 ALDS Game 5 vs. TEX L, 1-5 Cliff Lee David Price 41,845
2008 ALCS Game 7 vs. BOS W, 3-1 Matt Garza Jon Lester 40,473

2019 TB AL Wild Card Game at OAK W, 5-1 GS/W, 5-IP, 5-H, 1-R/0-ER, 3-BB, 4-SO
2017 HOU World Series Game 7 at LAD W, 5-1 W, 4-IP, 2-H, 1-R/ER, 1-BB, 4-SO
2017 HOU ALCS Game 7 vs. NYY W, 4-0 GS/W, 5-IP, 2-H, 0-R, 1-BB, 5-SO

TONIGHT’S GAME 7!: Houston is trying to
become just the second team in MLB history to rally
from a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game series.
UP OFF THE MAT: The Astros became the 39th
team in MLB history to go down 3-0 in a seven-game
series, just the fourth team, out of the 39, to force a
Game 6 and are just the second team out of that group
to force a Game 7…the only other team to force a
Game 7 after being down 3-0 in a series was the 2004
Red Sox, who went on to win that Game 7 of the ALCS
against the Yankees en route to a World Series title.
ONE WIN AWAY: A win tonight would advance the
Astros to their third World Series appearance in the last
four years and their fourth in franchise history (2005,
2017, 2019)…the Astros lost the 2005 World Series in
four games to the White Sox, defeated the Dodgers
in seven games in 2017 and lost a nail-biter to the
Nationals in seven games last season…the last team
to advance to at least three World Series in a four-year
span were the 1998-2001 Yankees, who made four
straight Fall Classics, winning three.
GAME 7 HISTORY: The Astros have played in a
Game 7 four times in franchise history, going 2-2 in
those contests…their wins both came in 2017, as they
dispatched the Yankees in the ALCS and the Dodgers
in the World Series…the losses are unfortunately just
as memorable, in the 2004 ALCS to the Cardinals and
in the 2019 World Series to the Nationals.
SPEAKING OF GAME 7s: Tonight’s opposing
starters will forever be linked together in Astros lore
as the duo that started and closed both Game 7s in
the 2017 Astros World Series run…they started it in the
ALCS, in which RHP Charlie Morton (5IP) started and
won, while RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (4IP) relieved
him and earned the save…then in the World Series,
McCullers (2.1IP) started, while Morton (4IP) relieved
him for the win…per Elias, they are the first pair of
players in postseason history to pitch in the same
winner-take-all game as teammates and then later
start against each other in a winner-take-all game.
BIG GAME LANCE: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. has
gone 1-1 with a save and a 2.93 ERA (14ER/43IP) in 13
career postseason apps. (six starts)…in those outings,
he’s held opponents to a .201 average…McCullers
started Game 2 of this series, tossing 7.0 innings,
while fanning 11 and allowing four runs (one earned).
STARTING STRONG: The pitching in this series
has been incredible, headlined by the five Astros starters, which have combined for a 1.96 ERA (7ER/32IP)…
they’ve posted 40 strikeouts in 32.0 innings pitched.
POWER FIVE: Per Elias, 2B Jose Altuve, 3B Alex
Bregman, SS Carlos Correa, 1B Yuli Gurriel and OF
George Springer have played in more postseason
games together than any other group of five teammates in MLB history (56 games)…Altuve and Correa
have played 59 postseason games together in the field,
the most by any 2B/SS duo in MLB history.

AT THE HELM: Dusty Baker is the first manager in
MLB history to take five different teams to the postseason, also the Giants (1997, 2000, 2002), Cubs (2003),
Reds (2010, 2012-13) and Nationals (2016-17)…Baker,
who’s 31-36 all-time in the postseason, is in his third
LCS as a manager, also reaching the NLCS with the
Giants (2002) and Cubs (2003)…tonight will be Baker’s
ninth career winner-take-all game as a manager, the
most all time, breaking a tie with Bobby Cox.
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 (56) and wins (33) in
that time frame…in both categories, the Astros top the
Dodgers (46g, 27 wins) and Yankees (34g, 18 wins).
GAME 6 WIN: The Astros forced a Game 7 with a
7-4 win last night over the Rays at Petco Park in San Diego…LHP Framber Valdez (1ER/6IP) earned his third
win of the postseason, fanning nine in his 6.0 innings
of work…the Astros did their damage in a four-run 5th
inning, which included a go-ahead, two-run single by
CF George Springer…SS Carlos Correa had another
big game, going 3×5 with an RBI…RF Kyle Tucker
connected for his first career postseason homer.
RBI MACHINE: SS Carlos Correa is hitting .372
(16×43) and leads the club in homers (6), RBI (15) and
OPS (1.285) this postseason…he’s upped his career
postseason RBI total to 48, which are the most in club
history, and rank tied for seventh in MLB history.

  1. Bernie Williams: 80 T4. David Ortiz: 61
  2. Manny Ramirez: 78 6. Albert Pujols: 54
  3. David Justice: 63 T7. Carlos Correa: 48
    T4. Derek Jeter: 61 T7. Reggie Jackson: 48
    HEAVY HITTERS: In Game 5, OF George Springer
    hit his 19th career postseason homer, which ranks tied
    for fourth in MLB history along with 1B Albert Pujols.
  4. Manny Ramirez: 29 T4. George Springer: 19
  5. Bernie Williams: 22 T5. Jose Altuve: 18
  6. Derek Jeter: 20 T5. Reggie Jackson: 18
    T4. Albert Pujols: 19 T5. Mickey Mantle: 18
    SECOND TO NONE: 2B Jose Altuve has been
    arguably the best second baseman in postseason
    history, as he leads that position in career postseason
    homers (18) and RBI (39), and ranks tied for first in
    hits (72), along with Roberto Alomar (72)…in his 2020
    postseason, Altuve has hit .364 (16×44) with five homers, 11 RBI and a 1.250 OPS in his 12 games played.

RHP Lance McCullers Jr.

LAST START – ALCS GAME 2 at TB: had arguably the most dominant start
of his postseason career, striking out a postseason career-high 11 batters
over a postseason career-high 7.0 innings pitched…gave up 4 runs,
but just 1 was earned…gave up 4 hits and no walks while receiving his
first-career postseason loss in Houston’s 4-2 defeat.
• his 11 punchouts ranked 6th in Astros history for a single postseason
game, and marked the most by an Astros pitcher since Gerrit Cole’s
15-strikeout performance in Game 2 of the 2019 ALDS vs. TB.
• joined Cole (2018 ALDS Game 2 vs. CLE, 12 K) as the only Astros pitchers to post 11+ strikeouts without walking a batter in a single postseason
• became the 2nd pitcher in MLB history to suffer a loss in the postseason
after allowing 1 run-or-fewer while fanning 11+ batters without a walk…
the only other to do it was Brooklyn’s Don Newcombe in Game 1 of the
1949 World Series against the Yankees.
BIG GAME LANCE: is making his 2nd-career start in a Game 7 of a postseason series, and his 3rd overall appearance.
• has posted 1 save with a 0.00 ERA (0ER/6.1IP), 9 strikeouts, 1 walk and
4 hits allowed (0.79 WHIP) in his career pitching in Game 7.
• will become the 1st Astros pitcher to make multiple Game 7 starts.
• tonight will mark the 6th time in his career that he takes the mound with
a chance to clinch a postseason series for Houston…in 5 appearances
(2 starts) in potential series clinching games, has gone 0-0 with 1
save, a 2.16 ERA (4ER/16.2IP), 11 hits, 5 walks, 20 K’s, 0.96 WHIP.
• was the starting pitcher in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger
Stadium (0ER/2.1IP).
• famously threw 24 straight curveballs to end Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS
vs. NYY, recording the save with 4.0 shutout innings…was the 7th save
of at least 4.0 innings in MLB postseason history, and the first since
Madison Bumgarner’s save in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series…
became the 1st pitcher in MLB history to strike out at least 6 batters in
a postseason save.
LANCE AND CHARLIE: tonight’s starting pitchers will join a group of 7 pitchers ever to appear in Game 7 of a postseason series at least 3 times.
• that group consists of Roger Clemens, who made 4 Game 7 appearances in his career, and the following pitchers who all appeared in Game
7 on 3 occasions: Bob Turley, Mike Stanton, John Smoltz, Mariano
Rivera, Felix Heredia and Bob Gibson.
• McCullers Jr. and Morton both played prominent roles for Houston
in Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS and Game 7 of the 2017 World Series…
McCullers Jr. tossed a 4.0-inning save in Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS after
Morton started the game with 5.0 innings of 1-run ball…McCullers Jr. then
started Game 7 of the World Series (0ER/2.1IP), while Morton finished
the game with 4.0 innings of 1-run relief to give Houston its first-ever
World Series title.
THE RETURN: has made a successful recovery from Tommy John surgery
(Nov. 6, 2018)…made 11 starts for the Astros during the 2020 regular
season, after missing all of 2019.
• finished the 2020 season on a solid run…over his final 8 starts of the
regular season, went 2-2 with a 2.18 ERA (10ER/41.1IP), 13 walks, 45
strikeouts and a .182 opponent average (26×143)

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