The Rays, who boast having the best record in the American League, will be looking for revenge after previously losing to the Astros in five games in last years’ ALDS. Houston, who entered the playoffs with a losing record, is gunning for its third trip to the World Series in just four years.
“We respect how talented they are, but they are the team we (took) to Game 5, and we fell short,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said ahead of Game 1. “That experience probably helped us get to where we are right now, and the irony is that we’re playing them again now over seven games.”
The Astros sign-stealing scandal, in which Major League Baseball concluded that the team had recorded opposing teams’ signs during games throughout 2017 and part of the 2018 season, will undoubtedly be an underlying storyline that will likely see the Rays become the fan-favorite.
The Astros won their first World Series in 2017 and were allowed to keep their title despite MLB’s findings.
“No one has forgotten what they have done or chose to do in years past,” Tampa Bay outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “They have to live with that, but we want to end their season this year, doing everything our way and beating them at our game, and that’s pitching the heck out of it, scoring runs in many different ways, using our guys from the top to bottom of our lineup and seeing if we can make that happen.”
Here’s how the schedules line up for the five-game series.
(1) RAYS VS. (8) ASTROS
Game 1: Oct. 11; 7:30 pm ET (TBS)
Game 2: Oct. 12; 4 pm ET (TBS)
Game 3: Oct. 13; TBD (TBS)
Game 4: Oct. 14; TBD (TBS)
Game 5: Oct. 15; TBD (TBS)
The Associated Press contributed to this report