|4:07 PM PT5:07 PM MT6:07 PM CT7:07 PM ET19:07 ET23:07 GMT7:07 4:07 PM MST6:07 PM EST6:37 PM VEN3:07 UAE (+1)6:07 PM CT, October 10, 2019
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas Attendance: 43,418
Astros determined to crack Rays' pitching in Game 5
Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros
- Both National League road teams won decisive Game Fives yesterday -- the away team has gone 21-13 (.618) in LDS Game Fives all-time and are 13-5 (.722) in such games since 2010.
- Since the Divisional Series was permanently instituted in 1995, 15 teams have won 103+ regular season games, including the 2019 Astros and Dodgers. Only three of these teams have failed to advance to the League Championship Series -- this year's Dodgers along with the 2002 Yankees and 2002 Athletics.
- The Rays are 3-1 all-time in winner-take-all postseason games while the Astros are 3-1 since joining the AL in 2013 but are 4-4 in such games all-time. Both have won two consecutive winner-take-all games, with the Rays' last win coming against the Athletics, 5-1, in this year's Wild Card Game and the Astros most recently beating the Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
- The Rays are the only postseason team with three hitters with multiple home runs so far this postseason (W. Adames/Y. Diaz/T. Pham, two each). Adames has a 1.815 OPS thus far in the playoffs after posting a .735 mark during the regular season.
- In 147 postseason plate appearances from 2015-18, George Springer put up a 1.026 OPS with 11 home runs, which stands as a franchise record. He went hitless in Games 1-3 in this series, but picked up two hits in Game 4 -- overall, he is 2-for-17 (.118 AVG) with zero runs, RBI or extra-base hits and one walk.
- Former Pittsburgh Pirates Tyler Glasnow and Gerrit Cole will square off for the first time in their careers. Glasnow opened 2019 with eight straight starts of at least 5.0 innings with three or fewer earned runs, striking out 10.24 batters per nine innings. Since he returned from injury on September 8, all five of his appearances (reg & post) have lasted fewer than 5.0 innings, but he has a 14.04 K/9 in 16.2 innings.
- In his first start of the postseason, Gerrit Cole became the fourth pitcher ever to make a postseason start of at least 7.0 innings with at least 15 strikeouts and zero runs allowed, joining Roger Clemens (NYY, 2000), Kevin Brown (SD, 1998) and Bob Gibson (StL, 1968). Gibson holds the record for the most strikeouts through two starts in a single postseason all-time with 27 (first two starts of 1968 playoffs).
- Céspedes agrees to pay cut in settlement
- Rays nearing 2-yr. deal with OF Tsutsugo
- Brewers sign P Anderson for 1 year, $5M
- Red Sox sign LHP Perez, SS Peraza
- RHP Hahn back with KC after being let go
HOUSTON -- Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow has been granted the clearance to work deep into Game 5 of this American League Division Series on Thursday.
But considering the success Tampa Bay has enjoyed throwing multiple arms at the favored Houston Astros, maintaining a committee approach might serve as the best course of action.
On the heels of a franchise-record 107 wins in the regular season, the Astros will face elimination in the decisive contest largely due to their inability to solve Rays pitching. After leading the majors in batting (.274), on-base (.352) and slugging percentage (.495) during the season, the Astros have slashed .241/.294/.391 in the ALDS, with their .685 OPS a whopping 163 points below their regular-season mark of .848.
Central to the Rays' success has been their reliance upon bullpen depth. When Glasnow, who took the loss in Game 1, toes the rubber opposite Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, he will do so knowing he has ample support at the ready.
The Astros are fully aware of this as well.
"They made it perfectly clear they weren't going to let guys see a guy multiple times," Astros manager AJ Hinch said of the Rays.
"And statistically, and from a competitive standpoint, that's the way to go. If you really want to be the most effective, that's the approach to go with. It's hard to do that over 162, but in a five-game set, you're seeing them play out their script about as well as they possibly could.
"It's up to us to make the adjustments. We've seen these guys now. You can't have it both ways. You can't say it's difficult on one guy seeing a guy over and over again, and on the flip side when you see a guy over and over again, you've got to find a way to put up good at-bats."
Eight different pitchers have worked at least three innings for the Rays in the ALDS, four out of the bullpen. Right-handed relievers Chaz Roe (six outs recorded) and Emilio Pagan (five) also have logged more than an inning each, with the Rays outpacing Houston in the battle of individual matchups.
When Rays manager Kevin Cash opted for an opener in Game 4, his gambit paid dividends.
"I think it's a combination (of stuff and talent)," Cash said of his relief corps. "Their stuff is really, really good. Now, saying that, I don't know if you're going to see two bigger contrasts from Diego Castillo to Ryan Yarbrough, and then you bring in Nick Anderson. There's a lot of opposites in there.
"So it's a combination of both. But (Game 4), probably that's where the contrast really played a role. And you've probably got to have a little bit of that contrast to be fortunate enough to do what they did against as good as the Astros lineup is."
Given the calamitous prospect of losing in the ALDS despite being favored to win the World Series, the Astros are under pressure to unlock the mystery of Rays pitching.
Having Cole, unbeaten over his last 23 starts, on the mound helps, and the Astros should be emboldened by playing at Minute Maid Park, where they set a franchise record for home wins (60) this season.
"We're fine," Astros second baseman Jose Altuve said. "The energy is up, the confidence, the chemistry is still really good. We're talking about how good it's going to be (in Game 5). We believe in ourself. We have great hitters. Like I always say, this is a team full of good players.
"And so we're going to go out there and prove it (Thursday)."
Cole set a club postseason record with 15 strikeouts across 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a Game 2 victory. Entering the series, he had been 0-2 with a 3.51 ERA in four career starts against the Rays.
Glasnow allowed two runs on four hits across 4 1/3 innings in the Game 1 defeat. He won his only previous start against Houston, allowing one run on six hits over five innings on March 30.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 9, 2019