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Glasnow gets call for decisive Game 5 start

Morton could be available out of bullpen for winner-take-all contest
@juanctoribio
October 10, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- After successfully outdueling Justin Verlander on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, the Rays will turn to Tyler Glasnow to start Thursday’s winner-take-all Game 5 against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Glasnow fared well Friday in Game 1, allowing two runs

ST. PETERSBURG -- After successfully outdueling Justin Verlander on Tuesday night in Game 4 of the American League Division Series, the Rays will turn to Tyler Glasnow to start Thursday’s winner-take-all Game 5 against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Glasnow fared well Friday in Game 1, allowing two runs over 4 1/3 innings. The Rays right-hander featured his high-90s mph, four-seam fastball and a dominant curveball that leaves the hand on the same plane, but crosses the plate nearly 15 mph slower.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 4 HOU 6, TB 2 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 5 HOU 3, TB 1 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 7 TB 10, HOU 3 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 8 TB 4, HOU 1 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 10 HOU 6, TB 1 Watch

Aside from talent, the decision was an easy one for Rays manager Kevin Cash after Tampa Bay used six pitchers to get through Game 4. Glasnow, who was one of the best pitchers in the Majors through the first six weeks of the season, posting a 1.75 ERA, will pitch in his first career win-or-go-home game on Thursday.

“Lining up, I was assuming I would get it,” Glasnow said. “It was important to stay prepared, knowing I could have gone out of the bullpen yesterday and today. Luckily, we played super well, and I’m excited to pitch in Game 5.”

The Rays put on a pitching clinic on Tuesday, but they exhausted a lot of resources in the bullpen. Diego Castillo opened the game with 1 2/3 strong innings and Nick Anderson tossed a career-high 2 1/3 innings. Ryan Yarbrough and Colin Poche were both used in multi-inning roles in Game 4.

Blake Snell was also used for Tampa Bay, which makes the Game 5 pitching plans even more interesting. The left-hander would have been in line for multiple innings for a potential Game 5, but with Yordan Alvarez coming up in the ninth inning representing the tying run, Cash decided to go with the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.

“We didn’t draw it up that way,” Cash said. “As soon as Alvarez came up with a chance to tie the game, felt that that was our best matchup. We were fairly confident Blake was going to be pretty amped up. He was.”

Even with a heavy workload, the Rays expect to roll out an all-hands-on-deck approach for a third consecutive game. All six pitchers used on Tuesday would be available on Thursday. Yonny Chirinos, Brendan McKay and Oliver Drake, who didn’t pitch in Game 4, would be available out of the bullpen.

Another option for Tampa Bay would be Charlie Morton, who started Game 3 on Monday. Morton would be on three days' rest, which is typically a starter's bullpen day, and the veteran right-hander has performed in those situations in the past.

Morton could pitch in a crucial situation in the game or if the Rays are forced to use their high-leverage relievers in the earlier innings. Whatever happens, it won’t catch the Astros by surprise.

“I’m not going to be surprised if Charlie Morton is available in Game 5,” said Houston manager AJ Hinch. “I’m not going to be surprised if Blake Snell is available in Game 5. I wouldn’t expect anything less out of this type of game.”

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.