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.
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.”
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.”
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.”