Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Diego Castillo, third right and catcher Mike Zunino, second right, celebrate their victory against Houston Astros in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in San Diego. The Rays defeated the Astros 2-1 to lead the series 1-0 games.(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Rays Look to Stay Alive in Search of First World Series Win

It’s now or never for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The team finds itself on the verge of elimination after going down 3-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. With Game 6 on tap for Tuesday night at Globe Life Field, the Rays are looking to stay alive in their search for their first-ever championship title.

“We all know what the stakes are,” Tampa Bay outfielder Austin Meadows said Monday. “We just treat it like another day. Just go out there, we know what we have to do, we know what we have to accomplish. I think we realize the pressure of the situation, we realize what’s going on.”

Benefits of a Day Off

The Rays have already faced elimination twice before in this year’s MLB Playoffs.

With Tampa Bay one loss away from being sent home against the New York Yankees and Houston Astros in the ALDS and ALCS, respectively, its players remained unusually calm. The Rays didn’t need rousing speeches from their leaders for motivation. And manager Kevin Cash expects his team to follow a similar approach in preparation for Game 6 against Los Angeles.

Manager Kevin Cash expects his team to follow a similar approach for Game 6 of the World Series against LA.

After dramatically stealing Game 4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Tampa Bay dropped the following contest to put itself in a 3-2 hole.

The Dodgers currently have all the momentum heading into Tuesday night’s showdown. But Monday’s day off provided the Rays an opportunity to regroup and clear their heads. In a truncated season such as this one, the additional rest could go a long way.

Rays Bullpen

Left-hander Blake Snell will get the start on the mound for Tampa Bay in Game 6.

The 27-year-old put together a strong regular season with a 3.24 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 63 strikeouts in 50 innings. However, Snell had trouble pitching deep into those games. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award nomination pitched into the sixth inning in just four of his 11 starts, failing to finish that frame in each of those instances.

Cash’s strategy of turning to his relievers in the early stages of games has been instrumental to Tampa Bay’s postseason run. The Rays bullpen has pitched 83 innings in 19 postseason contests, notching three wins and seven saves with a 3.58 ERA.

Tampa Bay will likely have all of its pitchers for Game 6 except for right-hander Tyler Glasnow, who started in Sunday’s 4-2 loss. Even the team’s projected Game 7 starter, Charlie Morton, could make an appearance if needed.

With the Dodgers offense at full strength, the Rays will need help from its entire bullpen in order to extend the World Series. The first pitch of Tuesday’s contest is set for 8:08 p.m.

About Bryan Matamoros

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