Thanks to an offensive explosion in Game 3, the Tampa Bay Rays are still alive in the ALDS. They'll try to beat the Houston Astros again in Game 4 on Tuesday to force a winner-take-all Game 5 in Minute Maid Park on Thursday. A win Tuesday sends the Astros to their third consecutive ALCS. 

Now, let's set the scene with some essentials. 

How to watch

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 8 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, Florida)
TV: FS1 | StreamfuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: HOU -240 | TB +210 | O/U: 7.5
Starting pitchers: RHP Justin Verlander (HOU) vs. RHP Diego Castillo (TB)
Follow: CBS Sports App 

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The Astros are not messing around. They will start Verlander on short rest in Game 4 rather than try to piece things together with Jose Urquidy and the bullpen. Verlander allowed one hit in seven shutout innings in Game 1. This will be the first true start of his career on three days' rest. He started Game 3 of the 2011 ALDS on two days' rest, but that was after throwing one inning and 25 pitches in a rain-shortened Game 1. Gerrit Cole will be available on normal rest should the series reach a Game 5.

As for the Rays, they will combat Verlander with a traditional bullpen game. The hard-throwing Castillo will start and could throw two innings. After him, manager Kevin Cash will try to piece things together with the rest of his relief crew. Righty Yonny Chirinos and lefty Ryan Yarbrough are the best candidates to go multiple innings in relief. The Rays scored 10 runs in Game 3 after scoring two runs total in Games 1-2. Their four homers in Game 3 tied the franchise single-game postseason record.


Even on short rest, it's hard to bet against Verlander these days. If he can only give the Astros five innings, five innings of Verlander is better than anyone else the Astros could run out there Tuesday. The prediction here is Verlander looks like himself and dominates, and the Astros punch their ticket to the ALCS in Game 4.

Pick: Astros 6, Rays 1