Kleinschmidt: Rays Will Stress Astros

The Astros should beat the Rays in the ALDS, but Tampa Bay is no pushover

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
October 03, 2019 - 9:39 am
Tampa Bay Rays AL Wild Card

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The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Oakland Athletics, 5-1, in the AL Wild Card on Wednesday, swatting home runs in each of the first three innings. Yandy Diaz had a solo shot in the first, Avisail Garcia had a two-run bomb in the second, and Diaz had another solo shot in the third to give the Rays a 4-0 lead. 

And, just for good measure, Tommy Pham added a solo shot in the fifth.

The Rays took it from there.

“They feel like a more jacked-up A’s team,” NBC Sports Digital Correspondent Jessica Kleinschmidt said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Between both of these teams, I love how they went up against each other. Nobody took these guys seriously heading into the season, and you look at the roster for both teams and you’re like, ‘Who are these guys?’ You don’t really hear about them.”

That could change against Houston in the ALDS, especially given the quality of Tampa Bay’s pitching staff. Charlie Morton scattered five hits over 5.0 innings Thursday, striking out four and allowing one run. The bullpen ended the game with four scoreless frames, striking out eight in the process.

“There’s so much power on that team, and obviously their pitching is strong,” Kleinschmidt said. “I think they’re a team that’s going to stress the Astros out a lot. I do see the Astros taking it, but between those two teams having very strong lineups that maybe you’re not anticipating, if you want to talk about a wild series, it’s going to be fun.”

Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS are Friday and Saturday in Houston. The Astros won a franchise-record 107 games this season.