clearn.png
Wednesday July 15th, 2020 3:24AM

Cole looks to close out ALDS for Astros against Rays

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HOUSTON (AP) — All those regular season wins for Gerrit Cole and the Houston Astros have manager AJ Hinch feeling just fine entering a winner-take-all game with the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.

"They've got to come into our house and beat us again," Hinch said. "With Cole on the mound, I don't know who could be more confident than us."

Cole will start for the Astros in the decisive Game 5 of their AL Division Series. The right-hander hasn't lost since May 22, winning a franchise-record 17 straight decisions, capped by a 15-strikeout gem in the Astros' Game 2 victory. He'll try to punch Houston a ticket to its third straight AL Championship Series, and he'll do it at home because the team won a franchise-record 107 games to earn home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

"I love that we're here," Hinch said. "The way we got here is nerve-wracking just because you don't want to get to a Game 5 (but) we fought all year for have a better record and to win our division to get this particular game at home."

The Astros got splendid pitching performances from Justin Verlander and Cole to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Then the Rays jumped on trade-deadline acquisition Zack Greinke for six runs in 3 2/3 innings of a 10-3 win in Game 3 before Verlander came back on short rest and took the loss in Tampa Bay's 4-1 victory which evened the series. Thursday's winner will face the AL East-champion New York Yankees.

Houston went 60-21 at Minute Maid Park in the regular season, but the upstart Rays have shown fearlessness in downing the Athletics in the wild-card game before fending off elimination with their last two wins. In the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and the underdogs in this series against the star-studded Astros, the Rays have played bigger than the names on the backs of their jerseys.

"I do think the mentality that these guys come to the ballpark (with is), they might not be superstars, but they certainly believe they are," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

They used a parade of relievers Tuesday night but will return to a traditional starter in Game 5 with Tyler Glasnow.

Glasnow sat out from May 11-Sept. 8 with a right forearm strain and threw 76 pitches in 4 1/3 innings in a Game 1 start. Cash said he expects Glasnow to be at full strength Thursday and hopes he'll be able to throw around 90 pitches, but that could change.

"You go in with a game plan, a thought process, but you gauge off how the ball is coming out and how they're feeling," he said.

Cash added that all of his pitchers will be available for Game 5, including reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, who closed Game 4 in his first career relief appearance, and Charlie Morton, who started Monday.

Snell was irked at everyone who wrote off the Rays after they fell into the early hole in the series.

"I don't know about everyone else, but I got annoyed of hearing about Houston this, Houston that," Snell said. "I know how good they are. I know how talented that team is. But I felt like everything media driven was strictly about them, and they weren't giving us any credit. They weren't talking about us at all."

Tampa Bay's pitching has stifled Houston's powerful lineup in this series, with the Astros averaging just 3.25 runs a game and batting a combined .241 after leading the majors with a .274 average in the regular season. George Springer, Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa have all struggled at the plate this postseason and are a combined 7 for 48 in the series.

"We've got really good pitching. That's the biggest key," Cash said. "I like the fact that for the most part we have attacked them in the strike zone. They're an offense that if you ... mess around and don't establish strikes, they're going to get you, and they're going to find their way on base, and that's when they really get the big hit."

Despite the trouble at the plate, Hinch doesn't plan to make any changes to the lineup in Game 5, aside from starting Martín Maldonado at catcher as he always does when Cole pitches.

"I don't think now is the time to really turn your back on one of the best offenses in the big leagues just because the pitching staff has had a run of success for a couple of games," Hinch said.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Politician charged in human trafficking adoption scheme
Court records show the assessor of Arizona's most populous county has been accused of human smuggling in an adoption fraud scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give up their children for adoption
7:12PM ( 8 minutes ago )
US moves 2 British IS members known as 'Beatles' from Syria
Two British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State group that beheaded hostages and was known as "The Beatles" have been moved out of a detention center in Syria and are in American custody
7:11PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Sanders: I misspoke when I mentioned slowing campaign pace
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he "misspoke" when he told reporters he may slow his frenetic campaigning pace after his recent heart attack
7:07PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
NBA postpones media sessions in Shanghai amid China rift
NBA postpones Wednesday's scheduled media sessions in Shanghai for the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers
6:27PM ( 53 minutes ago )
Falcons looking to regroup during desert trip
The timing for the Atlanta Falcons' extended road trip to the desert could not have been planned any better
6:21PM ( 59 minutes ago )
10-spot: Cardinals score 10 runs in 1st inning vs Braves
The St. Louis Cardinals have scored 10 runs in the first inning of decisive Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves
5:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Fall snowstorm blasts Rockies, heading toward Midwest
A fall snowstorm is snarling traffic and causing power outages in the Rocky Mountains as it slowly moves across the northern U.S. toward the Great Plains
12:44PM ( 6 hours ago )
Rays chase Verlander early, beat Astros 4-1 to even ALDS
Willy Adames homered and made a sensational relay throw from shortstop, Tommy Pham also went deep and the Tampa Bay Rays chased Justin Verlander early in beating the Houston Astros 4-1 to even their AL Division Series at two games apiece
4:45AM ( 14 hours ago )
LEADING OFF: Nats-Dodgers and Cards-Braves set for Game 5
LEADING OFF: Nats-Dodgers and Cards-Braves set for Game 5, Rays push ALDS back to Houston for Game 5, Hicks hopes to rejoin Yankees in ALCS
4:33AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Schmidt: Computer strike zone good, but check your hearing
Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt says a computerized strike zone would be a good thing for Major League Baseball
3:11AM ( 1 day ago )
Bullpens? More like blowpens as playoff relievers get rocked
It's been a tough month for major league relief pitchers, with bullpens often getting tagged in the playoffs
2:57AM ( 1 day ago )
Rays pummel Greinke, Morton clutch vs Astros to win Game 3
Kevin Kiermaier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer as Tampa Bay teed off on Zack Greinke, and the Rays backed another clutch playoff pitching performance by Charlie Morton to beat the Houston Astros 10-3 and cut their AL Division Series deficit to 2-1
1:04AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Politician charged in human trafficking adoption scheme
Court records show the assessor of Arizona's most populous county has been accused of human smuggling in an adoption fraud scheme that brought pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give up their children for adoption
7:12PM ( 8 minutes ago )
US moves 2 British IS members known as 'Beatles' from Syria
Two British militants believed to be part of an Islamic State group that beheaded hostages and was known as "The Beatles" have been moved out of a detention center in Syria and are in American custody
7:11PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Sanders: I misspoke when I mentioned slowing campaign pace
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he "misspoke" when he told reporters he may slow his frenetic campaigning pace after his recent heart attack
7:07PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Evidence from ex-Dallas cop's murder trial fuels mistrust
Evidence from a former Dallas police officer's trial for killing her neighbor has fueled new questions about whether accused officers are treated differently than other suspects
7:04PM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says US moved IS fighters held in Syria
President Donald Trump says the U.S. has moved some of the most dangerous Islamic State fighters detained in Syria to an unknown location where they can be watched during the Turkish military incursion into Syria
7:00PM ( 20 minutes ago )