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Rays jump all over Astros pitching in ALDS Game 3

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The Rays’ backs are against the wall in their series against the Astros. If they don’t win today their season is over. As such, it was super important that they get off to a good start today and carry it through to victory.

They didn’t, exactly, as José Altuve hit a solo homer in the first inning as the Astros hitters made Rays starter Charlie Morton throw 31 pitches. Meanwhile, Astros starter Zack Greinke cruised, needing only nine pitches to set the Rays down in order in the bottom half.

Things changed in the second, though, as Morton walked one batter but retired the other three he faced to make the Astros go quietly. In the bottom half the Rays got to Greinke. Avisaíl García singles, Greinke hit Travis d'Arnaud with a pitch to put two on and then Kevin Kiermaeir timed a Greinke changeup perfectly and served it over the right center field fence for a three-run jack to put the Rays up 3-1:

It’s now the top of the third. The Astros have an outstanding offense so this game is obviously far from over. But for once — the first time in the series, in fact — the Rays have a lead.

UPDATE: Ji-Man Choi has hit a solo homer in the bottom of the third inning and it’s now 4-1 Tampa Bay.

UPDATE: Welp, make that 5-1, as Brandon Lowe has now taken Greinke deep for the third time today to give the Rays a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

UPDATE: It’s now 8-1. Go take a walk and get a snack. There’s a lot more, and better baseball today.

Andrew McCutchen ‘ready to go’ whenever season begins

Andrew McCutchen
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Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen would have opened the regular season on the injured list if it had started on time. Now, with the start of the season pushed back at least a few months due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the veteran five-time All-Star says he will be “ready to go” whenever the season begins, he told NBC Sports Philadelphia.

McCutchen, 33, tore his ACL in early June, ending his 2019 campaign. To that point, he had been quite productive for the Phillies, batting .256/.378/.457 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI over 262 plate appearances. If and when the 2020 season does begin, he will likely reprise his role as the leadoff hitter, this time under new manager Joe Girardi.

2020 marks the second year of McCutchen’s three-year, $50 million contract initially signed with the Phillies in December 2018. The Phillies also hold a $15 million club option for the 2022 season with a $3 million buyout.