There aren’t many things that Justin Verlander hasn’t done in his illustrious career, but pitch on 3 days rest is one of them. It did not work out as well as Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had planned, as Tampa Bay knocked Verlander around for 3 2/3 innings before he was taken out of the game.
Verlander denied that the short rest had anything to do with his bad outing and said he felt “physically fine.” He explained that his slider was not working for him, and it threw off his timing for the rest of the pitches, causing the Ray’s hitters to feast off of his offspeed, including 2 home runs.
Whether it was the short rest or not, the end result was a 4-1 Rays win to even up the series and force a game 5 back in Houston. While most people wrote off the Wild Card Rays, being that they were going up against the team with the best record in baseball, Tampa Bay has seemed to find their offense at just the right time.
If the Rays are to become the 11th team in postseason history to win a best of 5 series after falling behind 0-2, they must get through another Astros beast, Gerrit Cole. Cole struck out 15 Rays hitters in his dominant Game 2 start, and will get the nod on a full 5 days rest at his home ballpark. While the Astros are heavy favorites to advance to the ALCS, don’t count out the Comeback Rays.