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How the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen fares against the Houston Astros

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Tonight will be a true test of the Rays superb bullpen

Divisional Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros - Game Two Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays face elimination once again as they take on the Houston Astros in game four of the American League Division Series. Having already used their top three starters in Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow, and Blake Snell, the Rays will turn to their fearsome bullpen in hopes of winning the game and forcing a game five in Houston on Thursday.

Diego Castillo has already been tabbed as the opener, and then Kevin Cash will choose his battles based on how things proceed from there.

“We’ll start with Diego,” Cash said. “From there, depends kind of where we land in the batting order. But with the performance from Charlie and the rest of the guys, Oliver Drake, super efficient today with his two innings, able to bounce back. We’re capable of multiple innings from a lot of the guys in the bullpen.”

With the efficient game three performances of Charlie Morton, Oliver Drake, and Colin Poche, the Rays will have most of their bullpen available to go on Tuesday against the Astros. Ryan Yarbrough and Yonny Chirinos can both eat some innings up while Nick Anderson and Emilio Pagan can be counted on in high leverage moments.

Chaz Roe — who struggled on Monday — may also be available for Cash, as well as Brendan McKay, who retired the lone hitter he faced during the game.

If the Rays are able to force a fifth game, Cash says they may even turn to Charlie Morton at some point to help secure themselves a trip to the ALCS.

However, before we even begin discussing a potential fifth game any further, the Rays have to take care of business tonight.

Let’s take a look at how tonight’s potential pitchers have performed against the Astros this season.

Diego Castillo - 22 Total Batters Faced (TBF)

.316/.409/.368 - 2 K - 3 BB

The Astros hitters haven’t been fazed by Castillo and his triple digit velocity or his plus slider. Of their 22 plate appearances, they’ve struck out just twice while they’ve drawn three walks. They were able to get to Castillo for three runs back on August 28th when he blew a save against the eventual American League West champions.

Castillo has only appeared once in the ALDS thus far, giving the Rays 1 23 scoreless innings during Game Two.

Ryan Yarbrough - 26 TBF

.160/.192/.360 - 6 K - 1 BB

The main bulk out of the Rays pen this season, Yarbrough has faced the Astros three times this year; twice during the regular season, Yarbrough held his own, allowing four runs over 12 13 innings pitched.

Yarbrough pitched during game two of this series, delivering a perfect inning and collected a strikeout in the process.

Yonny Chirinos - 24 TBF

.083/.083/.208 - 4 K - 0 BB

Chirinos had one appearance against the Astros this season and it occurred back on March 31st when he was able to carve through the Houston lineup with ease. He held them to just one run on two hits over seven innings pitched, collecting six strikeouts along the way.

Chirinos is the only pitcher on the Rays playoff roster to not have appeared in a postseason game.

Nick Anderson - 9 TBF

.444/.444/.778 - 2 K - 0 BB

Anderson can be dubbed the Rays prize acquisition of the 2019 trade deadline as he arrived and proceeded to strikeout everyone he faced. However, it was the Astros who proved Anderson was a mortal with the Rays as they got for him for a run, both during the regular season and his lone playoff appearance.

Emilio Pagan - 17 TBF

.235/.235/.471 - 3 K - 0 BB

The Rays closer, like Anderson, has faced the Astros twice this year - once in the regular season and once in the playoffs. Again, like Anderson, the Astros got to Pagan for a run during his regular season outing and a run during his playoff outing (although it was unearned).

Chaz Roe - 31 TBF

.360/.467/.440 - 4 K - 5 BB

One of the most commonly used arms in Kevin Cash’s arsenal, the Rays turned to the slider wielding Roe seven times against Houston in 2019 — five times in the regular season and twice in the playoffs. It’s been a series of mixed results for Roe, as four of his regular season outings went rather well while the other went...disastrously awful and was about the worst kind of outing you could get out of a reliever as he allowed five runs in an inning of work.

Roe gave the Rays a scoreless 1 13 innings during game one, but wasn’t as fortunate during game three when he surrendered two runs and only retired two during the Rays eventual 10-3 victory.

Colin Poche - 15 TBF

.100/.400/.100 - 4 K - 5 BB

Poche has managed to finagle his way into each game of the ALDS thus far and has been superb in each outing. His postseason has been 2 12 scoreless inning with three strikeouts. The regular season was a different story as he only pitched once against the Astros and it was bad, as he walked five hitters during the outing and recorded just two outs.

Brendan McKay - 4 TBF

.500/.500/.750 - 1 K - 0 BB

The Rays 2017 1st round pick missed out on facing the Astros during the regular season, but has been used twice by Kevin Cash in the ALDS. Both times, he was only used to record one out. During the first game, McKay allowed two runs on two hits; during the third game, he retired the lone hitter he faced.

Kevin Cash has even stated that he may turn to Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow as need be in this potential elimination game. But, as stated before, he’ll go to whoever he needs in the right situation in order to put the Rays in the best position to win, he’ll worry about game five after the Rays win tonight.