ALCS Bracket 2020: TV Schedule, Early Odds and Predictions

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow (20) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning of Game 5 of a baseball American League Division Series in Houston, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Eric Gay/Associated Press

The race for the American League pennant is down to the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros. 

With a victory in winner-take-all Game 5 over the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, the Rays are four wins away from the World Series for the first time since 2008.

After winning the AL East by seven games, the Rays swept the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card Series before eliminating a second division rival in the ALDS. 

Meanwhile, the Astros swept the Minnesota Twins in two games on the road to advance past the Wild Card Series, and then took down the Oakland Athletics in four games during the American League Division Series. All of that came after a 60-game season in which Houston finished 29-31, earning the No. 6 seed in an expanded playoff field. 

After season-ending injuries to starting pitcher Justin Verlander (Tommy John surgery), slugger Yordan Alvarez (knee surgery) and closer Roberto Osuna (elbow), the Astros used their playoff experience and timely hitting to reach their fourth consecutive ALCS.

Yet it’s their first time doing so since the team’s sign-stealing scandal was exposed. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled the club used technology to decode opponents signs in real time, then relay pitches to hitters by banging on a trash can located just outside their dugout. The investigation immediately tarnished the 2017 World Series title won by Houston. 

The scheme further resulted in former general manager Jeff Luhnow and former field manager A.J. Hinch earning a year-long suspension from baseball. Both were fired by Houston shortly after the report became public. 

No players were punished due to Manfred granting immunity for honest testimony. 

Now with Dusty Baker serving as the club’s skipper, baseball’s biggest villains look to continue winning on the sport’s biggest stage.

TV Schedule 

Sunday, Oct. 11

ALCS Game 1, Petco Park, TBS

First Pitch: 7:37 p.m. ET

Monday, Oct. 12

ALCS Game 2, Petco Park, TBS

First Pitch: 4:07 p.m. ET

Tuesday, Oct. 13

ALCS Game 3, Petco Park, TBS

First Pitch: TBD

Wednesday, Oct. 14

ALCS Game 4, Petco Park, TBS

First Pitch: TBD

Thursday, Oct. 15

ALCS Game 5, Petco Park, TBS (if necessary)

First Pitch: TBD

Friday, Oct. 16

ALCS Game 6, Petco Park, TBS (if necessary)

First Pitch: TBD

Saturday, Oct. 17

ALCS Game 7, Petco Park, TBS (if necessary)

First Pitch: TBD

Series Odds

Available via DraftKings Sportsbook 

Prediction

The Rays enter the ALCS with both their starting rotation and bullpen working at peak production and they have Game 5 against the Yankees to thank for keeping it that way. With Tyler Glasnow able to go 2.1 innings on two-days rest, Tampa was able to avoid using Blake Snell or Charlie Morton, keeping them fresh for the first two games of the championship series. 

That would seemingly set up Glasnow to take the mound in Game 3 on four-days rest—a relative luxury at this point in the year.

It can also continue using its bullpen to mix and match in ways the Astros’ pitching depth doesn’t necessarily allow for. It’s a clear advantage for the Rays, but it could all go for naught if Houston’s bats remain as hot as they have in the first half of the playoffs. 

The Astros have hit 13 home runs in the postseason. The core of Jose Altuve, George Springer and Michael Brantley each have two while shortstop Carlos Correa has hit four already. 

Third baseman Alex Bregman has bounced back from a subpar regular season to slash .318/.444/.500 since the playoffs began. 

While Tampa’s offense isn’t without its own stars—left fielder Randy Arozarena has been one of the sport’s breakouts stars this fall while slashing an absurd .500/.538/1.042—it doesn’t have nearly the experience or postseason consistency of its opponent. 

Instead it will rely on a group of arms that’s combined for a 4.08 ERA and 1.32 WHIP this postseason. 

If the clutch hitting continues in the ALCS, it’s hard to go against Tampa. Until then, playoff experience and timely hitting are hard to beat. 

Pick: Astros in 6

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