Rays burned by opener in Game 4; tab Glasnow for Game 5
SAN DIEGO (AP) manager Kevin Cash and the Tampa Bay Rays introduced the concept of an opener for modern baseball two years ago.
With the chance to end their AL Division Series against the Yankees on Thursday night, they were bitten by their own creation.
You will try again Friday evening and start with Tyler Glasnow on two rest days.
The Rays dropped back in the second inning of Game 4 and never caught up after rookie opener Ryan Thompson gave up two hits, three walks and two 1 2/3 innings runs in just his second career start. Tampa Bay failed to return with a 5-1 defeat in San Diego. The Homer Happy line-up was limited to just three hits by a great collective pitching effort by the Yankees.
But just like New York almost certainly regretted having used an opener in Game 2 when Deivi Garcia and J.A. With both tagged, the Rays likely wish they had just allowed Ryan Yarbrough to start instead of opening with Thompson, a 28-year-old right-handed player who is making his third career playoff game.
"With their line-up stacked so heavily right-handed, we wanted to get as much out of him as possible," said Cash. "I know he missed the strike."
The Rays announced that Glasnow - who defeated 10 Yankees on Tuesday - would start again on Friday and is expected to face New York starter Gerrit Cole in a rematch of last year's ALDS Game 5 between Houston and Tampa Bay. Cole threw the Astros eight innings of a one-run ball in a 5-1 win, while Glasnow was drawn after eight outs and four runs.
Glasnow threw 93 pitch in Game 2 and took the win after throwing four runs over five innings. It's unclear how long his leash will be Friday, but a shortened excursion is likely.
"I wasn't really talking about innings or anything," said Glasnow. `` I just know I'm starting tomorrow, but I feel good about it. I'm excited. ... As for health, I feel good. I am ready to go I was in the pen today. I was ready to come out today. ''
With the chance to rise to the ALCS for the second time in franchise history and for the first time since 2008, Tampa Bay stumbled from the start in Game 4 at Petco Park.
DJ LeMahieu led the game with a single for New York before Thompson got the next three batters. But Tampa Bay stayed with Thompson for the second inning, and the Yankees pounced.
Luke Voit led the second with his first postseason homer, and Thompson then went over the loaded bases. Brett Gardner fought for his walk in a nine-pitch-at-bat, but Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela faced only nine combined pitches while drawing their walks.
"Even with the bases loaded, we figured it was the best option for getting a ball on the floor," said Cash. '' The number of pitches there just got so high that we went to Yarbs. We wanted to try to get him through the order once. ''
Thompson knocked out Kyle Higashioka, but LeMahieu easily drove into Gardner with a long sacrificial fly. Cash drew Thompson for Yarbrough, who held down the threat and stepped smoothly into the sixth inning before Torres' Homer put the Rays firmly into the lead in two runs.
Yarbrough is used to waiting for an opener before hitting the hill so that may not have affected him as much as it did two days ago.
"Generalized, I think it was kind of a point where if (Thompson) had a quick (first) inning, we'd let him out again," Yarbrough said. "I just stayed ready and whenever they called my name I was good to go."
A two-run deficit didn't seem like much against Tampa Bay's strong lineup, but New York's four pitchers were all hugely effective.
Yarbrough covered five efficient innings that could help the Rays in Game 5. While Yankees aides Chad Green, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman each threw more than 20 pitches, Tampa Bay only used Thompson, Yarbrough and Aaron Slegers. The rest of the Rays' deep, terrifying bullpen should be rested for the series finale.
"These guys, much like our guys, will be ready to go," said Cash. "Everyone will want the ball, but if we can tackle a few fields the day before, it might work in our favor."
Tampa Bay introduced the concept of starting games with a Reliever in 2018 to make up for a number of rotational injuries, and teams throughout baseball followed his lead. Cash took the opportunity to play off his highly effective helpers against the top of the opposing line-up, and his starters could be prepared to arrive on the hill late.
Cash was reluctant to use an opener in the playoffs, however: he had only done so once in Tampa Bay's 11 previous combined playoff games in 2019 and 2020.
Diego Castillo did an excellent job in Game 4 of last year's division series against Houston, scoring three hits while allowing one hit and a step in 1 2/3 innings before giving way to Yarbrough in the Rays' 4-1 win.
The Rays played seven times in this year's regular season with 60 games and went 6-1 when applying the program.
Nobody knows how long Glasnow will be in the final, but the Yankees are ready for anything.
"I'm sure (Glasnow) will be an opener thing for them, and I'm sure they will get (Blake) Snell and then all of their other guys in the bullpen as well," Voit said. `` (Glasnow) obviously has his heater, but he also has one of the best curveballs in the game. We have seen him enough. We have a good game plan against him and we just have to start early. ''
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