It will be Gerrit Cole against Tyler Glasnow in tomorrow’s deciding Game 5 of the ALDS matchup between the Yankees and Rays. New York recorded a 5-1 win in Game 4 tonight to force the winner-take-all contest on Friday at Petco Park (the Rays will be the designated home team).
It isn’t any shock that Cole will get the call for the Yankees’ biggest game of the season. Signed to a nine-year, $324MM free agent deal last winter, Cole lived up to that ace billing in the regular season and is 2-0 in two playoff starts. The home run issues that plagued Cole during the season have again been something of an issue in the postseason, as he has surrendered three long balls in 13 innings of 3.46 ERA pitching during these playoffs.
Two of those homers came in Game 1 of the ALDS, though Cole held on for a quality start in allowing three runs on six hits and two walks over six innings of work, while recording eight strikeouts. Counting the regular season, Game 5 will be the fifth time the Rays have faced Cole in 2020. It will also mark the first time in Cole’s eight-year career that he has started a game on only three days’ rest, though it’s safe to assume manager Aaron Boone will have his entire cadre of pitchers available should Cole run into any early struggles.
The same tactic will almost surely apply for Glasnow and the Rays, as Glasnow will start on just two days’ rest after pitching five innings in Game 2 (allowing four runs on three hits and three walks, with 10 strikeouts). Given the even shorter amount of time between games for Glasnow, he might also be a candidate for a quick hook from Rays manager Kevin Cash. It is also possible Glasnow could be less a proper starter and more of a glorified opener, as Tampa Bay would be pleased to get as many innings as they can from Glasnow before turning things over to their deep bullpen.