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Yankees-Rays ALDS Game 5 open thread

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The Yankees and Rays series is the only one in the division round to go the distance. They’ll settle things tonight.

Division Series - New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

For the Rays and Yankees, a hectic best-of-five with no off days in the middle of the series all comes down to tonight. Theirs is the only one of the four division series to go five games. Other teams will not have to figure out how to approach a winner-take-all game until the next round at the earliest.

Game 5 is set to get under way at 7:10pm Eastern tonight on TBS.

The Yankees turn to their $324 million free agent starting pitcher Gerrit Cole to try to seal the deal. The no off days wrinkle of this series means that Cole will be pitching on short rest, instead of a typical year where a team might count on its ace in Game 1 and Game 5 on regular rest.

The no days off challenge is even more pronounced for the Rays, who will have Tyler Glasnow starting the game for them. Glasnow threw 93 pitches in Game 2 of this same series on Tuesday, so he’s had only two days rest. He might be more in line for a side session type outing than a full game, but who knows.

Spare a thought, if you don’t still bear a grudge over the 1971 and 1979 World Series, for those Pirates fans who might tune in to this game. Cole and Glasnow was supposed to end up being their one-two combo and it never worked out that way. Now the two guys face one another on different teams in the American League playoffs. That’s probably not fun.

Obviously, I’ll be pulling for the Rays here. That’s not so much about my wanting them to win as about my wanting the Yankees to lose. That’s particularly true today on what is the 24th anniversary of the Jeffrey Maier game. No Yankee fan deserves any postseason happiness until the Orioles win at least one World Series in my lifetime. Probably at least five, to also account for 1998-2000 and 2009.

As ever, though, deserve has nothing to do with whose favorite baseball team does or doesn’t win a baseball game. One team will win and the other will lose and this will have nothing to do with who roots for who - or even necessarily which team plays better than the other. It could be the luckier team that wins.

The starting lineups for Game 5 in San Diego:

New York Yankees (road team)

  1. DJ LeMahieu - 2B
  2. Aaron Judge - RF
  3. Aaron Hicks - CF
  4. Giancarlo Stanton - DH
  5. Luke Voit - 1B
  6. Gio Urshela - 3B
  7. Gleyber Torres - SS
  8. Brett Gardner - LF
  9. Kyle Higashioka - C

Tampa Bay Rays (home team)

  1. Austin Meadows - RF
  2. Brandon Lowe - 2B
  3. Randy Arozarena - LF
  4. Ji-Man Choi - 1B
  5. Yandy Diaz - DH
  6. Joey Wendle - 3B
  7. Willy Adames - SS
  8. Kevin Kiermaier - CF
  9. Mike Zunino - C