Shortly after the Rays’ Game 4 loss to the Yankees, which extended the ALDS to a fifth and final game, Tampa manager Kevin Cash told reporters it would be right-hander Tyler Glasnow getting the ball for the Game 5 start. Without context, that’s not really a big deal. Glasnow has raw stuff that’s as good as anyone in the league. He’s capable of going out and dominating a game. 

It’s just that Glasnow just started Game 2, so he’s coming back on only two days’ rest — unheard of for starting pitchers, other than extreme instances such as this — after throwing 93 pitches. 

Starters usually throw (you’ll hear it’s his “throw day” in discussions on this very subject) bullpens after two days of rest after starts, but that’s a big difference from pitching an elimination game in October. Still, Glasnow will physically look like himself to start the game, in all likelihood. 

But let’s not assume he’s going to be able to go full strength more than a handful of innings. How might the Rays shake out after that? 

I’d expect if Glasnow goes two or three innings, Blake Snell will be an option to piggyback him. It’s a different look, as a lefty with a tough arm slot would be following the fireballing righty. 

If the Rays can find a way to get through the fifth or so with just Glasnow and Snell — or, honestly, skipping Snell entirely — then it’s set up for them to use their stud relievers. 

The main event here is Nick Anderson. He held opposing hitters to a .091/.138/.182 line this season with 26 strikeouts in 58 batters faced. He only gave up one hit to a right-handed hitter all year and the Yankees’ lineup is predominantly right-handed. Anderson threw two perfect innings in Game 2, striking out four of the six batters he faced. He needed just 22 pitches and that was the only game he pitched all series. I’d expect if the Rays feel like they need to, they’d let him go as long as he can be effective. Three innings? It’s possible. 

Whatever innings before extras (at which point all bets are off) Glasnow, Anderson and maybe Snell don’t finish, it’ll be up to Diego Castillo (1.66 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 23 K, 21.2 IP in regular season) and then Pete Fairbanks (2.70, 39 K in 26.2 IP). This doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be in that order. It’s just to say that surely the Rays would love to get through nine innings with just these three members of the bullpen used. None of them pitched in Game 4, and it’s been since Game 2 for Anderson and Fairbanks. 

Also, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if the Rays do stray from this. They are a funky bunch that likes doing off-the-wall things. We’re simply laying out the most likely pitching plan in place, based upon how things have unfolded in the playoffs and in high-leverage moments during the regular season. 

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