Astros vs. Rays: A look at the pitching matchup for ALCS Game 2

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., left, throws to Seattle Mariners' Evan White during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – One game into the ALCS and some bad habits returned for the Astros. A couple of mental errors and lack of clutch hitting cost them Game 1.

Monday, the Astros and Rays meet again, and going down 0-2 will not bode well for the Astros’ chances of returning to the World Series next week in Arlington.

It looked promising with Jose Altuve’s first-inning home run but that was all of the offense they could produce in a 2-1 Game 1 loss that wasted a terrific outing from Framber Valdez.

Pitching matchup

The Astros send out Lance McCullers Jr. for Game 2. He needs to bring his best stuff against this talented Tampa lineup. McCullers needs to go deep for Dusty Baker. He will be opposed by former Astros pitcher and 2017 World Series hero Charlie Morton.

A must-win game? Not 100%, but pretty close. If they get down 0-2, the Astros will be in a hole that’s tough to climb out of.

Time to play at Petco Park.