Guardians pitchers struck out 20 Rays in 15 innings, starting with eight from starter Triston McKenzie in his six innings of work, and ending with six from winning pitcher Hentges in his extended three innings. In total, eight Guardians pitchers combined to allow just six hits and five walks in 14 innings.
On a day where the Guardians pitchers dominated the Rays, and overwhelmed them every time they got in trouble, the only concern came in the tenth inning when right-handed reliever Nick Sandlin had to be removed from the game due to right upper arm tightness. Sandlin was a pivotal part of the Guardians’ bullpen this year, throwing 46 innings with a 2.25 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. His recovery and status is something to watch closely as the ALDS approaches.
The Rays added 19 strikeouts of their own, including five from starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow, who was brilliant and efficient for five innings in just his third start back following Tommy John surgery. I wrote in the Game 2 preview that Tampa’s bullpen depth would be tested, and they nearly lived up to the challenge, holding Cleveland to just three hits in the final nine innings of the game.
Rays manager Kevin Cash took risks and seemed to pull the right strings at the right times all afternoon, going to closer Peter Fairbanks in the sixth inning, and then potential Game 3 starter Drew Rasmussen for 1 2/3 innings. In the end, despite their brilliance, the Rays were just outpitched by the Guardians.