The Houston Astros won again last night, with a walk-off home run from SS Carlos Correa. Now all the rumours are that he called his shot, and while that would be pretty cool, it really doesn't matter. What does matter is the Astros have another chance tonight to extend the series.
By getting this far, they are already making history as they are just the fourth team to come back from being down 3-0 and extend the series to a sixth game. Only one of those teams, the 2004 Boston Red Sox, was able to come back and actually win the series though. So history is not on their side, in a way.
Since they won last night's game in the 9th inning, the Astros did not need to use starter Framber Valdez. That makes him available to start today and for the Astros to be able to lean on their best starting pitcher in these playoffs. That gives them a much better chance of living to fight another day too, of course. Tampa might still be up in the series, but they have struggled to generate any offense that has not been via the home run. They must be starting to get a little tight in that dugout. Nothing a solid starting pitching performance won't cure though, and they are back to being the "home" team.
Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays Game 6 Betting Analysis:
Framber Valdez vs. Blake Snell
Money Line: Tampa -139, Houston +128
Both of these pitchers have pitched well in the playoffs. For Valdez, the key is keeping the walks down and avoiding homers. For Snell, it is being a little more economical with his pitches so he can get deeper into the ballgame - his previous start in the series it took him 105 pitches to get through 5 innings against the Astros in a 2-1 win. If he can give them that again, it might be enough though, because Tampa did not have to use relievers Pete Fairbanks or Diego Castillo in the game five loss. That gives the Rays a decisive edge once things get to the bullpens, which they assuredly will.
I think that the starters can pitch to a stalemate. Odds are they aren't perfect, but each can go five or six and hold the opponents to just a couple of runs. After that, even though Houston has the deeper lineup, I am siding with Tampa and their fresher crop of elite relievers. Eventually the lack of depth and quality in that area sinks the Astros.
Take Tampa -139
Playing the total is tricky. I think there is a real chance that Tampa puts together their first big inning against the Astros against a reliever tonight. If they can finally drop a five spot, or more, that total is going to get blown out of the water. That is the way I am leaning with this number, but I am more confident in them getting the win than this going over so wager accordingly. Every game in this series has gone under and pinpointing when to fade a streak is tough.
Take Over 8.
Score prediction: Tampa Bay 7 - Houston 3