The 2004 Red Sox, you may have heard, are the only team in baseball history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.
The Astros would love to join them. The Rays would prefer to keep that exclusive club at one.
Already, Houston is one of only four teams to rally from a 3-0 deficit to even force a Game 6, after reeling off consecutive American League Championship Series victories when facing elimination.
“They probably feel good about themselves, being down 3-0 and now three games to two,” said Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier. “But we like our chances, and we have a lot of confidence in our bunch that we’ll get the job done. Hopefully that’s [Friday].”
Here’s everything you need to know about Game 6:
When is the game and how can I watch it?
The game will air on TBS at 6 p.m. ET/5 CT/3 PT on Friday. It is also available to stream on MLB.TV with authentication.
Who is the home team?
The Rays, who are the No. 1 seed in the AL, will have home field in Game 6 and (if necessary) Game 7, meaning they will bat last.
What do the starting lineups look like?
Astros: Facing lefty Blake Snell, Houston decided outfielder Michael Brantley was not healthy enough to play the field. Brantley was the designated hitter in Game 5 on Thursday after fouling a pair of balls off his foot late in Game 4 on Wednesday and being somewhat hobbled and he was penciled in as DH for Game 6. Aledmys Díaz will play in left field.
Rays: Tampa Bay has played matchups throughout the season, and the Rays will need their right-handed bats to provide good at-bats against Framber Valdez. Tampa Bay got just two runs off the left-hander in Game 1 on Sunday, and it will need a much better effort in Game 6.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Astros: Valdez, who was warming up in the ninth inning in Game 5, will make his second start of the series. He held the Rays to two runs and four hits -- including a homer to Randy Arozarena -- in six innings while striking out eight batters in Game 1.
Rays: Snell will get his fourth start of the postseason, including his second against the Astros in this series. He has had some mixed results in the playoffs, going 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA. In his Game 1 start, the left-hander needed 105 pitches to get through five innings, but he allowed just one run and struck out two in the Rays’ 2-1 win.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Astros: After using seven members of their bullpen to get through Game 5, Houston needs Valdez to go as deep as possible. Cristian Javier didn’t pitch in Game 5, so he could be ready after throwing 35 pitches in Game 4. Closer Ryan Pressly, who has thrown 30 pitches over the past two games, said he could take the ball again in Game 6.
Rays: Though Snell is getting the start, Tampa Bay will be aggressive with how it uses its bullpen in key situations. Nick Anderson went 1 1/3 innings on Thursday, but he immediately said he would be “good tomorrow” during his postgame Zoom call. Diego Castillo, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson should also be rested and ready to give the Rays multiple innings if needed.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Astros: Luis Garcia and Enoli Paredes threw 37 and 36 pitches, respectively, in Game 5, so they might not be available for Game 6.
Rays: Aaron Slegers has pitched in back-to-back games, likely making him unavailable for Game 6. Other than Slegers, Tampa Bay will lean on the bullpen as it looks to wrap up the series.
Any injuries of note?
Astros: Reliever Josh James, who gave up a game-tying homer to Ji-Man Choi in the eighth inning of Game 5, left with back tightness and is questionable.
Rays: Kiermaier is battling a sore left hand after being hit by a pitch in Game 3, but he pinch-ran and played the outfield in the Game 5 loss.
Who is hot and who is not?
Astros: Brantley is hitting .316 with three RBIs in the ALCS. Altuve is hitting .421 with three homers across the first five games of the series, while Reddick is hitting .364.
Some of the Astros’ key bats are scuffling against the Rays, including Bregman (.158), Tucker (.176) and Gurriel (.133).
Rays: Arozarena did it again. The 25-year-old Cuban sensation hit his sixth home run of the postseason, tying Evan Longoria for the rookie record in a single postseason. Arozarena is 20-for-48 with six home runs in 12 postseason games.
Lowe went 1-for-5 in Game 5, but he was able to hit his first home run of the postseason in the third inning. He is 4-for-45 this postseason. Adames is now 4-for-34 after going 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts in Game 5.
Anything else fans want to know?
Astros: Springer’s 19 career playoff homers moved him into a tie with Albert Pujols for fourth place on the all-time list. Correa is the third player in postseason history to record multiple walk-off home runs, joining David Ortiz (two) and Bernie Williams (two). He also ties Ortiz for most overall postseason walk-off hits (three).
Rays: Tampa Bay hasn't lost three consecutive games since Sept. 7-8 against the Nationals and Sept. 10 against the Red Sox. The Rays are 24-24 all-time in the postseason and 8-4 in 2020.