The Tampa Bay Rays come into Game 4 of the American League Championship as the favorite to beat the Houston Astros and reach only the second World Series in franchise history.

Rays Astros odds ALCS Game 4
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve reacts to making an error during the sixth inning of a Game 3 loss to the Rays in the 2020 ALCS. (Image: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports)

The Rays lead the Astros 3-0 in their best-of-seven series after a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Altuve’s Error Leads to Five-Run Inning

Defense played an outsized role in deciding Game 3. While Tampa Bay made a series of spectacular plays to thwart Houston rallies, the Rays took advantage of a defensive lapse to score all five of their runs in a sixth-inning rally.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve threw a ball into the ground well short of shortstop Carlos Correa while trying to turn a double play. It was Altuve’s third error of the ALCS. The normally solid Altuve appears to have developed a case of the yips – what some players now refer to as “the thing” – at just about the worst possible time.

“We’re giving him all the support that we can,” Astros manager Dusty Baker told reporters. “Nobody feels worse than Jose. He takes it very seriously, and he takes it to heart. He’s one of ours, and we’ve all been through this before. Maybe not in the spotlight like this.”

Meanwhile, the Rays keep playing the kind of baseball that led them to the best record in the American League this year. In the playoffs, that has come to include some incredible defense that has frustrated the Astros.

“Classic Rays win,” Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said afterward. “Dominant pitching, phenomenal defense and picking our spot to score runs, and tonight it was the sixth inning for us with the five-run outburst. It just takes one inning and that one momentum swing for us to do damage, and we did that tonight when our pitching and defense was absolutely incredible.”

Rays Look to Glasnow to Close Out Series

Tyler Glasnow will take the ball for the Rays on Wednesday night in what could be the series clincher. Recent history suggests he’ll get the job done: he started both Game 2 against the Toronto Blue Jays in the wild-card series, and Game 5 against the New York Yankees in the ALDS, both of which ended with Tampa Bay advancing to the next round.

Rays vs. Astros Odds – ALCS Game 4 (via FanDuel Sportsbook)
Rays (Glasnow): -142 Astros (Greinke): +124
Run Line
Rays (-1.5): +114 Astros (+1.5): -134
Over 8.5: -102 Under 8.5: -120
Series Winner
Rays: -4000 Astros: +1850

The Astros will counter with veteran Zack Greinke in the hope of extending the series. Greinke told reporters he’s content to throw a game without fans in the stands.

“For me, it’s nice not having fans in the stands,” Greinke said. “Because then there’s no one there to talk to you and ask for autographs and want pictures and all that stuff. I don’t like to do that stuff. It’s nice not having them, for me. Most people like it. I don’t like it.”

Tampa Bay enters Game 4 as a -132 favorite over Houston (+116), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The oddsmaker also lists the Rays as a -4000 pick to win the ALCS, with the Astros posted at +1850 to complete an unlikely comeback.