Rays hope Glasnow can measure up to Verlander

by Gary Shelton on October 4, 2019 · 0 comments

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Glasnow needs to be big for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 3 a.m.

He just got back. The bandages are barely off. The strength is just starting to return.

But today, Tyler Glasnow has to try to match pitches with the terrific Justin Verlander.

It hardly sounds fair, does it? Verlander has won 15 games or more 10 times in his career. He's won the Cy Young. And, for five innings or so, Glasnow needs to keep his team close.

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"Oh, man, what did he do last time?" Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "Five ups? Five ups? He's probably going to come out throwing 103 miles an hour so we'll take that into consideration.

"But, look, Tyler's been really good. I think there's an opportunity that he can be a little bit better efficiency wise. Performance-wise, he's been outstanding. But I think six innings is reasonable. But then you've got to take into consideration that that lineup they're throwing out don't generally allow pitchers to be too efficient."

In a regular season game, Glasnow would have an excellent shot to eat up enough innings to get the Rays to the bullpen. But this time, it will be tougher.

"I think there's no doubt that their starting pitchers are dominant," Cash said. "We're going to face a guy that's arguably the best pitcher for the last decade and a half, two decades. But their offense is right there with them.

"Certainly, going into this series, look, I don't think the head-to-head matchup plays too much of a role from this season. But I don't anticipate us doing too much differently. We've just got to go out there and have good at-bats when any of these guys happen to make a mistake or lack an executed pitch, we've got to be ready for it."

Glasnow said he was looking forward to the challenge.

"It's awesome," he said. "It hasn't fully sunk in. This is everything you dream about. You're a little kid, you think about playing playoff baseball. Now that it's here, it's pretty amazing. It's awesome, too, to come out with all the guys on the team. They're all excited too. Hoping to come out, play well, and have a good time.

"They're a really good lineup, really good offensive team. Guys who hit really well. Going forward, it's going to be the case for every team. If you stick with what you've been doing all season, I'm going to stick with my routine, stick with my game plan. And I do think that there's no need to change anything really. Just kind of stick with all the stuff I've been doing all season."

Glasnow said that Verlander and Gerritt Cole were a great 1-2 combination.

"They're great, man. Obviously, I played with Cole in Pittsburgh. He's a great dude. Really takes his craft seriously. Like I said, it's just awesome to be able to even face guys like that.

"It's a pretty amazing experience. We got a really good clubhouse. We've got really good players in our clubhouse. But yeah. I don't know. It's cool, man. I don't even know what to say. It's awesome."

The Rays play the Astros at Minute Maid Park at 2:05 p.m.

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