Yesterday we saw three of the four division series come to an end. The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their tear through the National League playoffs, as they punished the San Diego Padres 12-3, completing the three-game sweep of their NL West Division rivals. The Dodgers have yet to lose a game in the postseason this year, and the Boys in Blue look poised for their first World Series title since 1988.
The Dodgers will play the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, as the Braves took care of business against the Miami Marlins yesterday, as they too picked up the sweep. The Braves continued to dominate on the mound, as they shutout Miami yesterday, for their fourth shutout victory in five games in the 2020 postseason. It is hard to lose games if the other team never scores any runs, and the Braves are going to be a significant obstacle for the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.
Neither team has lost this #postseason.
— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2020
Over in the American League, the Houston Astros continued their improbable run to their fourth consecutive ALCS, picking up the series win in four games against the Oakland Athletics. The Astros finished the regular season with a losing record, but they have looked like a completely different team in the playoffs and showed a lot of heart yesterday when they came back from an early 3-run deficit to knock off Oakland.
The Astros will await the winner of tonight’s game five of the ALDS, as the New York Yankees were able to stave off elimination yesterday, picking up a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, to tie that series up at two games apiece. New York would love nothing more than to get their revenge over an Astros team that ended their season last year in the ALCS. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to PETCO Park in San Diego for game five of the American League Division Series between the Rays and the Yankees.
New York Yankees (2-2) at Tampa Bay Rays (2-2)
It is win or go home tonight in San Diego as the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays square off in game five of the American League Division Series. The Yankees took game one of the series before seeing the Rays strike back and take games two and three. New York won last night in game four, and the teams will play their fifth game in five days tonight, with the winner advancing to the American League Championship Series.
Tonight, it’s win or go home. 😤
Who ya got? pic.twitter.com/vQF9ypvXN4
— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2020
Starting tonight for the Yankees is Gerrit Cole (2-0 3.46 ERA), and for the Rays, it is Tyler Glasnow (2-0 4.91 ERA). The game total over/under is set at seven and a half runs. The Yankees are -150 favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from PETCO Park in San Diego.
New York Yankees
Giancarlo Stanton played just 23 regular season games this year for New York, as he again lost significant time to injury. The hulking slugger rejoined the team in mid-September and wasn’t able to get going as he hit just .200 with only one home run in nine games. There were a lot of question marks surrounding his health as we hit the postseason, and New York knew that getting him healthy and hitting was going to be a major key to their playoff success.
To say that Stanton has answered those questions would be quite the understatement, as he is crushing the ball right now. In 6 postseason games this year, Stanton has hit safely in every game and has smashed 6 home runs, with 13 RBI and 7 runs scored. Against the Rays in this series, he has already hit 4 home runs in the first 4 games against Tampa Bay. Two of those four home runs came against Tyler Glasnow, who will be starting tonight for Tampa Bay.
Gerrit Cole (2-0 3.46 ERA)
When the New York Yankees gave Gerrit Cole one of the biggest free-agent contracts in Major League Baseball history in the offseason, it was because they knew that if they were going to win a World Series title this year, they needed a true ace starting pitcher. There might not be a pitcher alive right now, that New York would rather be starting tonight than Cole, as this guy is a proven postseason winner and can shut a team down.
Cole pitched in game one of this series and came away with the winning decision when he worked six quality innings, allowing three earned runs. Interestingly enough, it was the first winning decision in Cole’s career against the Rays. In three regular season starts against Tampa Bay this year, Cole pitched a combined 16.1 innings and gave up nine earned runs. The Ks were there for Cole, as he racked up 27 of them, but he also gave up five home runs and the Yankees lost two of those three games.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays had a shot to close out the Yankees last night and just couldn’t finish the Bronx Bombers off. The Rays weren’t able to take advantage of Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery’s early struggles, as they only scored one run off of him, despite the fact that he gave up three hits and three walks in just four innings of work.
The Yankees bullpen was able to completely shut the Rays down after Montgomery was pulled from the game, as they didn’t allow even a single hit in the final five innings of the contest. Tampa Bay has to find a way to score runs in this game if they want any shot to hang with these mashers from New York, that are certain to hang some crooked numbers up on the scoreboard at some point.
Tyler Glasnow (2-0 4.91 ERA)
The Rays are going to do what they almost always do, and that is make a strange and controversial pitching decision. Tampa Bay will start Tyler Glasnow tonight in the deciding game five. You may remember Glasnow from three days ago when he started, and won, in game two of this series. In an unprecedented move, the Rays are going to go back to Glasnow in game five, despite the fact that he just started and will be on only two days rest.
And this isn’t a case where the guy pitched an inning or two and is back and ready to go on short rest. Glasnow threw 93 pitches in game two and using him again tonight, is a very risky move. But it is hard to fault Tampa Bay for going with Glasnow, as they have won the last ten games that he has started. Three of those games have come against the Yankees, and Tampa Bay is hoping that trend holds up tonight in game five.
Who Do I Like?
We talked about Glasnow starting this game on two days rest, and while that does seem crazy on the surface, the Rays aren’t going to leave him in this game very long. Glasnow is probably only going to pitch one inning, two at the most, tonight. The Rays invented the modern-day opener strategy, and that is how Glasnow is going to be used in this one. What we didn’t talk about yet, though, is the fact that Gerrit Cole has never once in his entire career pitched on three days rest!
And unlike Tampa Bay, who will only use Glasnow for an inning or two, the Yankees are likely to leave Cole in the game for as long as he is effective. New York has very few options on the mound right now, and if Cole can get them four or five innings, they are going to ask him to do it. I would think that New York will turn to Deivi Garcia for a long relief outing if Cole isn’t sharp, but you can bet your bottom dollar that New York is hoping for Cole to get them more than one inning in this game.
I absolutely hate to fade Gerrit Cole, but that is what I am going to do in game five. Pitching on three days rest after throwing 97 pitches is just not a spot that you want to be in. Cole threw 105 pitches in his previous start against the Cleveland Indians, and he has to be worn out after getting used and abused. But the Yankees just don’t have anyone else to turn to right now.
I can’t imagine that Cole is going to give us another 100+ pitch outing tonight, which means this game is going to boil down to bullpen versus bullpen. The Rays have mastered using their bullpen to pitch full games, and with Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman both working more than their typical single inning last night, the Yankees may have to use guys like Chad Green and Adam Ottavino, who have struggled in this series, to eat up some of the middle innings. That is a bad thing for New York.
Giancarlo Stanton scares me, and if Tyler Glasnow doesn’t just roll the ball up to home plate when Stanton steps in the box in the first inning, he is a mad man. I think that New York will leave Cole in the game just a little bit too long and that Tampa Bay will empty their bench and play as many matchups as possible, from the first inning onward, and find a way to sneak out of San Diego with the series win. Give me the Tampa Bay Rays tonight, as underdogs, in what should be a thriller!