Nonetheless, both will be on the mound Friday for a winner-take-all Game 5 of the American League Division Series as the AL East rivals have their final duel of 2020.
Glasnow, who was the winning pitcher in the second game of the series, mowing down a Yankees lineup that struck out a postseason-record 18 times, will start Game 5 on just two days of rest. Glasnow hasn’t pitched on fewer than four days of rest since July 2018, when he was being used mainly as a reliever by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I just found out like five minutes ago,” said Glasnow after the Yankees’ do-or-die 5-1 win Thursday night at Petco Park that forced a Game 5. “I haven’t really talked about innings or anything like that, I just know that I’m starting tomorrow. But I feel good about it, I’m excited and I’m just ready to come out and pitch tomorrow.”
Glasnow threw 93 pitches over five innings in Game 2, giving up four runs and three hits, two of them home runs by slugger Giancarlo Stanton, and striking out 10. Glasnow told manager Kevin Cash he was available Wednesday, the day after his start, and claimed the short rest would not be an issue Friday.
“I’ll be fine,” he said. “As far as health goes, I feel really good. I’m ready to go.”
ALDS Game 1 winner Cole has never pitched on short rest in 216 career starts, including the postseason. Even so, his manager and teammates would not have it any other way.
“I’m excited to see him go pitch, there is no question,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He is excited to get the ball with the opportunity to help us move on. To be able to hand the ball to probably the best pitcher in the game, there is some comfort in that. But I’m just excited to see him go out and compete like he always does.”
“We’re going to win,” added first baseman Luke Voit, who led all of baseball with 22 homers in the regular season and hit his first of the postseason Thursday night. “[With] Gerrit on the mound, that’s the best situation possible for us, and we’re locked and loaded. But it’s a big game for them, too. We know we’re going to get their best and they got all their bullpen arms for tomorrow, so we know we’re gonna come out fighting.”
Outfielder Aaron Judge might have said it best after Cole’s 13-strikeout performance in the Yankees’ 12-3 victory over Cleveland during the wild-card round: “This is why we got him. We didn’t get him to throw in April, we didn’t get him to throw in May. We got him to throw postseason baseball for the Yankees.”
Cole explained he had been getting ready for the possibility of pitching in a Game 5 since his ALDS debut, consulting with some of his former teammates. And even though he tweaked some of his preparation between starts, Cole said he was not concerned about the quality of his pitches on short rest.
“I have spoken to a few guys who have done it before, and it’s not something that’s probably sustainable for the whole season, but certainly the human body is capable of doing it,” Cole said. “We saw the Brewers ride CC [Sabathia] very hard to that majestic run. [The Astros] put Justin Verlander out there on short rest before, so has [Zack] Greinke and so has Dallas [Keuchel], some of those guys that I talked to about it. You just gotta go out there and do your job. When the lights turn on, it doesn’t matter if it’s three, four, five, six, seven days’ rest … you gotta do your job.”
This will certainly be the time for the Yankees to cash in part of their $324 million investment, and Cole said he revels in the magnitude of the moment. And it will be win Game 5 or pack away the cleats until February.
“It’s a special opportunity. I think everybody is feeling like it’s going to be a special game,” Cole said. “Anytime you are in a lineup in a do-or-die game, your teammates have faith in you, your manager has faith in you, as a player that’s always a good feeling. You always want to be out there in the big moment. Either team would have liked to have won this series before Game 5 but, hey, we’re here, and it’s part of the path to get to where we ultimately want to get to, so we’ll have to overcome it.”