Blake Snell will end his streak of starting game ones for the Rays, but he’s not going to wait long to take the hill. Snell will get the ball in game two against the Dodgers, while Tyler Glasnow will toe the rubber in the opening game of the World Series, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter).
Clayton Kershaw is set to oppose Glasnow in game one for the Dodgers. Los Angeles was able to escape the NLCS despite just one so-so outing from Kershaw, but they’re surely expecting more from the all-time great as the World Series kicks off on Tuesday.
For the Rays, expect similar usage from their pitching staff over the first couple of games, but it will be anyone’s guess from there. With days off after game two and game five, manager Kevin Cash will have more options available to him. The days off mean the Rays will probably drop a pitcher from their 15-man unit in order to bring a position player back into the mix, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays went with a 14-and-14 pitch-to-hitter balance for the first few rounds of the playoffs, only adding the additional arm for the 7-day, 7-game ALCS.
Rays starters don’t tend to pitch far beyond the fifth inning regardless, but the extra rest gives Cash some flexibility for how to deploy his arms. Charlie Morton would be on five days rest for a game three start, assuming Cash decides to keep his regular rotation intact. He could then turn to Ryan Yarbrough for game four, or return to Glasnow on three days’ rest.
Purely speculating, Josh Fleming and Jose Alvarado were the ’last in,’ so to speak, having been added to the roster for the ALCS. Alvarado struggled with his command, while the Rays may not feel the need for a longman like Fleming given the extra days of rest. Shane McClanahan, who made his big league debut during the postseason, could also be an option for removal. On the offensive end, Brett Phillips and Nate Lowe both made the playoff roster for a previous round. Given how much the Rays value outfield defense, Phillips might be the more natural add, especially with Ji-Man Choi healthy and ostensibly filling Lowe’s potential role on the roster.