MLB Monday Takeaways: Margot, Rays put Astros in 2-0 ALCS hole

7:09 PM ET

MLB InsidersESPN

The 2020 MLB playoffs are down to the final four teams with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Rays left standing in the League Championship Series. Starting with Sunday’s ALCS Game 1 showdown between the Astros and the Rays in San Diego through the moment that the World Series is set, this is your place for the stars, turning points and takeaways at the conclusion of every game.

ALCS Game 2: Tampa Bay Rays 4, Houston Astros 2

What it means: The Rays are a baseball version of the Vince Lombardi-era Green Bay Packers. They play smothering defense. They don’t beat themselves. And they grind you out gradually on offense, until they can spring the big play. The analogy may not be perfect, but Tampa Bay’s formula has played out perfectly all through the postseason.

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In Game 2, the Astros hit the ball harder than the Rays, just as Dusty Baker suggested during his in-game interview. According to, the expected batting average on the balls the Astros hit was well over .300; for the Rays it was under .200. Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. was dealing, for the

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