ARLINGTON -- Tyler Glasnow grew up in the Southern California area watching Clayton Kershaw pitch big games for the Dodgers. With the Rays naming Glasnow their Game 1 starter, the right-hander will now face off against Kershaw in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at Globe Life Field.
Glasnow will become the fourth pitcher out of William S. Hart High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., to pitch in the World Series, joining James Shields, Mike Montgomery and Trevor Bauer.
“It’s unbelievable,” Glasnow said. “[Kershaw] is someone I grew up watching pitch. This is a special moment for me, for sure. But I’m going to treat it as any other start with just traditional gameplanning stuff.”
Glasnow went 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA in the regular season and is 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in four postseason starts. The Rays right-hander is coming off his worst outing of the postseason, allowing four runs and striking out just five over six innings vs. the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. In the regular season, Glasnow didn’t strike out fewer than seven hitters in any outing of five innings or more.
Despite his struggles against Houston, Glasnow has been the most consistent pitcher for the Rays this season. He struck out 91 batters in 57 1/3 innings in the regular season, and the Rays were 9-2 in games started by the right-hander. Before his Game 4 loss to the Astros, the most recent time the Rays had lost a game started by Glasnow was on Aug. 8 against the Yankees.
One area where opposing hitters have been able to attack Glasnow this season has been with the long ball. Glasnow gave up 11 homers in the regular season, allowing at least one in nine of his 11 starts. In the postseason, Glasnow has allowed multiple home runs in three of his four starts. That will be a point of emphasis against a Dodgers team that hit 91 homers against right-handers this season.
As for Blake Snell, who will start Game 2, the Rays are going to need length out of the left-hander. Snell went 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA in the regular season, but his longest start of the season was 5 2/3 innings. That has continued in the postseason, as the 2018 Cy Young Award winner has not yet pitched six or more innings through four starts.
The matchup against the Dodgers could be a favorable one for Snell, as Los Angeles had a .779 OPS against southpaws this season compared to a .837 clip against righties. The only hitter in the Dodgers’ lineup who has more than one at-bat against Snell is Mookie Betts, who is 7-for-23 with one home run and two strikeouts against the southpaw.
With an off-day on Thursday, the Rays could have Charlie Morton start Game 3 with an extra day of rest, but the club wasn’t ready to make a decision on that yet.
“We feel really good,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Having an extra day for Charlie and Tyler could be really beneficial for them. We’ve talked about how it’s been a pretty drastic run playing in Petco [Park], but to have the two days off is a benefit to all of us.”
The Rays will have to set their World Series roster on Tuesday, but it’s fair to expect that center fielder Kevin Kiermaier will be included. Kiermaier is dealing with a right hand contusion after taking a 99 mph fastball off the hand in Game 4 of the ALCS, but he took batting practice on Monday and said he’ll be “ready to go” for Tuesday.
“He picked us up big by playing in Game 7,” Cash said. “Two days off of not swinging it and repeated treatment, you've got to think that’s going to help him.”