ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Houston Astros won 107 games during the regular season, so Monday's loss in Game 3 of the American League Division Series will not cause any issues with this baseball team.
They have been laser-focused all season, and that won't change.
The Astros and Tampa Bay Rays will continue their best-of-five series Tuesday with Game 4 at Tropicana Field with the Astros needing one win to clinch the series and move on to the American League Championship Series.
First pitch is at 6:07 p.m.
Here are three keys to an Astros closeout win in Game 4.
Spark from Springer
George Springer is one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball, but so far, in 3 games in the ALDS, he has been silent. Right now, Springer is hitless in the series, but he said after Monday's loss that he feels good at the plate and is just waiting on results to come.
Look out for Springer to produce in Game 4. He is too good to be contained for four straight games.
What more can you say? It's time to go back to the Astros' ace. Justin Verlander was outstanding in Game 1 when he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out eight Rays hitters.
He will be on short rest (four days instead of five), but JV will be ready to get it done for the second time in the series. If he does, he will be ready for Game 2 of the ALCS this Sunday. If not, then A.J. Hinch will go with Gerrit Cole on Thursday if a Game 5 is needed.
Play clean defense
Defense has been critical all season, and especially in the postseason. No secret here, the Astros need to be sharp with the glove. They have made several great plays so far in three games, including ones by Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. Play clean and let Verlander and the bats take care of business.