1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays need to make it tougher on Astros pitchers

John Romano: An optimist’s view, pondering a quicker hook for Glasnow and mounting pressure on the Rays bullpen.
Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Yandy Diaz (2) looks back to the pitcher after striking out in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Division Series Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 in Houston. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Oct. 4
Updated Oct. 4

HOUSTON — Immediate impressions the Rays’ 6-2 loss to Houston Friday in Game 1 of the ALDS.

This Verlander guy might have a future

That was kind of what you expected from Justin Verlander. It was also what you feared. No one expects the Rays to put up a ton of runs against Verlander, Gerrit Cole or Zack Greinke, but you’ve got to make them work harder. That means getting into the Houston bullpen by the sixth inning, not the eighth.

The optimist’s point of view

Back on March 28, the Rays lost the season-opener 5-1 to Verlander and the Astros. Tampa Bay then won the next three games against the Astros – 4-2, 3-1, 3-1.

If you had to do it over again …

The game turned into a bit of a blowout, but the key moment came in the fifth when the Rays left Tyler Glasnow in after giving up a leadoff walk. At that point, Glasnow had thrown 70 pitches, which was his highest total since coming off the injured list. Two batters later, Jose Altuve launched a home run to leftfield. Was it a mistake to leave Glasnow in? In retrospect, sure. But at the time it made sense. Glasnow still had good stuff. He struck out George Springer on three consecutive fastballs before facing Altuve.

A call to arms

The pressure on the Rays bullpen just went up a few degrees. Brendan McKay, who does not have much experience as a reliever, was a little shaky Friday and Oliver Drake got knocked around a bit. Considering Blake Snell will be on a pitch limit in Game 2 and the Rays are looking at, essentially, a bullpen day in Game 4, they’re going to need quality innings from a lot of guys.


  1. Yesterday• Sports
    Jameis Winston (3) points to fans after the Bucs' 2017 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Saints, justice for the Astros, answers for the Lightning.
  2. FILE - In this July 24, 2019, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during a baseball game in Houston. Verlander has been awarded his second AL Cy Young Award. MICHAEL WYKE  |  AP
    The Mets’ Jacob deGrom wins the NL award for the second straight year.
  3. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash talks with reporters in the dugout the day after clinching a playoff spot. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Former Ray Rocco Baldelli wins top honors after his first season with the Twins, Aaron Boone was second.
  4. Erik Neander, Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager, addresses the media during a press conference at Tropicana Field Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Award came from a vote of team executives; Yankees Cashman was second.
  5. Flanked by his mother, Michelle Alonso, left, father Peter Alonso (blue shirt, standing), girlfriend Haley Walsh, right, and friends, New York Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, 24, reacts as he finds out he has won the National League Rookie of the Year award on Monday at his home in Tampa.  Alonso, a Plant High graduate, made a grand entrance to the big leagues, hitting a major-league rookie and team-record 53 home runs for the Mets. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The easiest part of the day for the travel-weary first baseman may have been receiving the prestigious award.
  6. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash speaks at a news conference before an Oct. 1 American League wild-card game practice in Oakland, Calif. JEFF CHIU  |  AP
    Marc Topkin: The Twins Rocco Baldelli and Yankees Aaron Boone are the other two finalists for the hard-to-define award.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8) is showered with sunflower seeds after hitting a solo homer in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Former Plant High and Florida star Pete Alonso a favorite for NL Rookie of the Year, to be announced Monday
  8. Erik Neander, Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager, says of the general manager meetings, which start this week, "We’d love to find a way to score a lot more runs without sacrificing run prevention.'' DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays Tales: Erik Neander says 2019 success provides “a stronger starting point” than they have had in a while. Plus, rumblings.
  9. Manager Kevin Cash has led the Rays to back-to-back seasons of 90 or more victories. He finished third in the American League Manager of the Year voting in 2018 and is one of three finalists again this year with the winner being announced on Tuesday. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    John Romano: His profile is as low as Tampa Bay’s payroll, but AL Manager of the Year candidate Kevin Cash consistently gets the most out of the Rays.
  10. ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times
Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro (33) talks to umpire Bruce Dreckman at the bottom of the fourth inning against Texas Rangers on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. 
 ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The other finalists, per a report, are Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.