The postseason is here. Tyler Glasnow’s first pitch on Tuesday will begin a month of high-stakes baseball, and his Rays will be facing Jordan Montgomery as Tampa and Texas battle to face the Orioles.
Let’s make predictions for Tuesday’s Game 1 and break down why the Rays have the edge.
Rangers vs. Rays Prediction Game 1 AL Wild Card
This isn’t the best matchup for a Rangers team that isn’t entering with much momentum. The Rays’ bullpen has been very strong over the past few weeks, which is a major advantage over a Rangers team with an untrustworthy bullpen. If Jordan Montgomery can’t last through most of Game 1, the Rays’ lineup could be in position to pounce in the later innings.
The Rangers have also dealt with their share of strikeout issues despite such a talented lineup. Can guys like Adolis Garcia avoid swings-and-misses against a flamethrower like Glasnow? Glasnow hit some bumps in September but looked like his old dominant self in his last outing.
If he’s dialed in, the Rays and their timely hitting should be able to ride what will be a near-full Tropicana Field crowd to a Game 1 win. At the end of the day, it’s tough to get past such a problematic Rangers bullpen
Rangers vs. Rays Prediction: Rays Moneyline -150
Rangers vs. Rays Odds
The Rays are home favorites at -152 on the moneyline in Game 1. The over/under is 7.5 runs.
Both of these teams have lost their aces, but Glasnow and Montgomery have both been dominant of late. The Rays have more momentum coming into Game 1, but does that matter? With the crowd behind them, it might.
Rangers vs. Rays Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Rangers vs. Rays.
Rays Lineup vs. Rangers Bullpen
It’s been tough to trust the Rangers all season because of how serious their bullpen issues are. While the unit wasn’t such a disaster over the last handful of weeks, it’s still tough to trust this group in October.
Mission No. 1 for the Rays has to be getting Jordan Montgomery out of the game. The Rangers have the right guy on the mound if they need length – Montgomery pitches to contact and has lasted seven innings in three of his last four starts. If Tampa can make him work for it and push him out after six, it’ll be a win.
Three innings against the Rangers’ bullpen should be enough for the Rays to work with and win what could otherwise be a close game.
Adolis Garcia vs. Tyler Glasnow
Corey Seager and Marcus Semien were very consistent this season, but Adolis Garcia was anything but. He hit a major skid in the second half, also dealing with an injury, but just before the end of the season he seemed to find his rhythm again. Garcia posted a 1.121 OPS with five home runs over his last 12 games. If that’s a sign of what’s to come, the Rangers can go far.
Can Glasnow keep Garcia in the ballpark? Glasnow strikes out 12.2 batters per nine, which already makes him a tough matchup for Garcia (27.7% strikeout rate). He is also allowing one home run per nine innings, which is a real improvement. Pressure will be on Garcia to break through against Glasnow.
Rangers vs. Rays Starting Lineups
Rangers Starting Lineup
2B Marcus Semien R
SS Corey Seager L
DH Mitch Garver L
RF Adolis Garcia R
1B Nathaniel Lowe L
3B Josh Jung R
C Jonah Heim S
CF Leody Taveras S
LF Evan Carter L
Rays Starting Lineup
1B Yandy Diaz R
3B Junior Caminero R
LF Randy Arozarena R
RF Josh Lowe L
2B Isaac Paredes R
DH Jonathan Aranda L
SS Taylor Walls S
CF Manuel Margot R
C Rene Pinto R
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