Yankees-Rays Game 5 pitching matchup is a nightmare for Pirates fans

The New York Yankees-Tampa Bay Rays will face off in a winner-take-all Game 5, and it’s going to be a miserable watch for Pittsburgh Pirates fans

It’s been a rollercoaster for fans of the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays this ALDS. The Yankees took Game 1, but dropped the following two contests, leaving them on the brink of elimination. On Thursday, the Yankees defeated the Rays 5-1 to force a winner-take-all Game 5, with the winner facing the Houston Astros in the ALCS.

The Game 5 pitching matchup will be Gerrit Cole versus Tyler Glasnow. Somewhere, a Pittsburgh Pirates fan just shed a tear looking at this, because both aces used to be on their team before they were traded.

Pirates fans’ season just managed to get even worse

It’s amazing to think that the Pirates had both Cole and Glasnow in their possession, but decided to send them away. That has to sting.

Cole was originally a first-round selection of the Yankees in 2008, but the then-high schooler decided to attend college at UCLA. Luckily for the Pirates, they held the first-overall pick in the 2011 MLB draft and drafted him without hesitation. In his five seasons in the Steel City, Cole posted a cumulative 3.50 ERA and 59-42 record, and earned a spot on the NL All-Star team in 2015. But in 2018, Cole had one-year remaining in arbitration eligibility and was going to command a new contract. So, the Pirates flipped him to the Houston Astros for Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran and Jason Martin.

As for Glasnow, he was selected a full four rounds after Cole. Glasnow didn’t put up the greatest numbers during his three years with the Pirates (2016-18), as evidenced by his 5.79 ERA and 1.705 WHIP. The Pirates, whom had postseason hopes in 2018, decided to flip Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz to the Rays in exchange for pitcher Chris Archer, in hopes of that putting the team over the edge and into contention. That trade turned out to be a disaster for Pittsburgh. Not only did the Pirates not make the playoffs, but Archer regressed upon arriving. In 2019, Archer put up a 3-9 record and a bloated 5.19 ERA in 23 games. Archer then missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing surgery for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome.

Since their departures, Cole has evolved into an elite MLB pitcher, while Glasnow is a part of Tampa Bay’s three-head monster of a starting rotation. Now, both Cole and Glasnow are dueling in a do-or-die game to help their respective teams reach the ALCS. Sorry, Pirates fans. We’re so very, very sorry.

Next: Mike Fiers never got the chance to face Astros in ALDS

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