Last night’s game didn’t go as planned for the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans. Fortunately they have another chance to win the series against the New York Yankees. This time it comes in the form of a winner-take-all game five.
The Yankees manager announced Gerrit Cole will make the start. He’ll be on three, rather than the normal four days rest, but still this choice is expected.
But Cash’s announcement that he would have Tyler Glasnow start for the Rays, on just two days rest was a surprise. This sets up a fun drama: a rematch of game five of the American League Division Series featuring Cole vs Glasnow, even if Cole is pitching for a different team.
No one doubts that Glasnow, ordinarily, would be the guy you’d want starting a must-win game. But he pitched on Tuesday! Glasnow will become just the second pitcher in the last 40 years to start on two days rest after a start of 5.0+ innings in the postseason.
Tyler Glasnow went 5 IP in Game 2 & will start Game 5 on 2 days’ rest— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 9, 2020
There have been 9 prior instances in the Expansion Era (since 1961) of a SP going 5+ IP in the postseason & making his next start on 2 or fewer days’ rest
It'll be the 2nd in last 40 years
List since '61 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/TnkrAheeEk
It is unusual but Glasnow is used to throwing on this schedule. Normally pitchers throw a bullpen practice session the midway between starts, and Glasnow would be throwing today. This time it comes against live hitters in the biggest game of the year. He will be limited in length, probably going once through the order if all goes well.
So how do the Rays get through nine innings?
Glasnow’s use will look like an opener. In a dream scenario one time through the order gets us 3.0 innings, but more realistically it will be 2.0+ innings leaving the Rays with somewhere between 6-7 innings left to throw.
The expected second pitcher for the Rays should be game three starter Charlie Morton. Morton will be on one day rest so he likely will be more limited than Glasnow. This could be 1-2 innings. This is the move that is more out of a normal routine than Glasnow throwing so it’s hard to know what to expect.
After the two big right handed pitchers are out it comes down to traditional relievers. They will likely need to cover 4-6 innings.
Nick Anderson is the big weapon that should be the guy brought in at any sign of trouble. Diego Castillo and Pete Fairbanks join him as the pitchers the Rays want to use and they will likely be asked to get up to six outs each.
How many innings the three high octane relievers need to throw will depend on how many outs Glasnow and Morton are able to get.
Of course this can’t be the only game plan; there must be a plan B and C in case one of your guys doesn’t have it, or in case the game goes into extra innings. Of course Blake Snell, who would be on three days rest, provides an option but he doesn’t match up ideally against those right-handed Yankee power bats. We could well see him, however, if Cash needs someone who can go longer than an inning.
No question, in a game like this, gaining or losing even a one run advantage will feel huge. Whichever team gets a lead will bring in their best high leverage arms to preserve it. Let’s hope a short-rest Cole channels last year’s short-rest Justin Verlander and the Rays can score a few times in the early going.