Astros vs. Rays: Justin Verlander gets ALDS Game 4 start; Tampa Bay goes with bullpen day

The Rays avoided elimination by knocking Zack Greinke, one-third of the Astros' three-headed monster, around the yard and chasing him early in ALDS Game 3 on Monday. The series is now extended and we have a better idea about how the pitching is lined up for the rest of the series. Let's take a look. 

Astros

Wade Miley worked in trash time relief in Game 3, so that means the path is clear for Justin Verlander to start Game 4 on short rest. Astros manager A.J. Hinch confirmed after Game 3 that Verlander was his man for Tuesday's Game 4. Believe it or not, Verlander hasn't made a postseason start on short rest after a non-abbreviated start. 

  • In 2011 ALDS Game 1, Verlander worked one inning before rain pushed the game back to the next day. He would come back on two days' rest in Game 3. He allowed four runs on six hits in eight innings with 11 strikeouts. 
  • In the 2017 ALDS, the Astros brought Verlander out of the bullpen on short rest in Game 4. He allowed one run (a solo homer to Andrew Benintendi) in 2 2/3 innings of work. 

That's all we have to go on in the postseason with Verlander on short rest and it isn't really anything from which we can draw a sweeping conclusion. 

Further, this move lines up Gerrit Cole to get the ball in a potential Game 5 on regular rest. 

Given Verlander and Cole being lined up, the Astros have to love their chances to advance. Still, had they closed down the Rays in Game 3, they could have saved a few bullets in front of an ALCS that will have them facing a stellar offense. 

Rays

It will be a bullpen game for Tampa Bay in Game 4, and manager Kevin Cash said Diego Castillo will open the game.

It seems like that Ryan Yarbrough could do some heavy lifting on Tuesday. Yarbrough was having an excellent season at one point. From June 18-Aug. 22, he pitched to a 1.48 ERA in 61 innings. Since then, however, he's running a 6.96 ERA in 32 1/3 innings. The last time he faced the Astros, he gave up three earned runs in six innings and that could work on Tuesday.

Also in line for heavy lifting is Yonny Chirinos. He hasn't yet been used this postseason and he last pitched on Sept. 29, when he threw 38 pitches. Of course, in his three late September outings, he allowed six runs in 6 2/3 innings, so they might not be ready to count on him for much. 

Oliver Drake (lefty specialist even though he's a righty) and Colin Poche could also get the Rays some outs, and they'll have Nick Anderson and Emilio Pagan to lock down the final innings. 

If the Rays can win Game 4, they'd have to like how things line up for Game 5. They would have Tyler Glasnow piggybacked by a full-rest Blake Snell. Charlie Morton would likely be available in relief as well, meaning they'd only need their three starters and three back-end relievers (Anderson, Castillo, Pagan), at the most, in all likelihood. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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