ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Sure, Jordan Montgomery's seven strong innings on Tuesday helped the Texas Rangers get the American League Wild Card Game 1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. However, the southpaw's dominant outing may have a big impact on Game 2 on Wednesday as well.
Texas Rangers have rested bullpen heading into Wednesday's Wild Card Game 2
With Montgomery going seven innings, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was able to use just two relief pitchers on Tuesday, with Aroldis Chapman and Jose Leclerc each recording a scoreless frame to help the Rangers polish off a 4-0 win. Montgomery's 93-pitch effort set the framework for the Rangers moving forward as key bullpen pieces like closer Will Smith got another day of rest.
"Well, that always gives you value. Also how you're able to use him late in the ballgame," Bochy told reporters after the game. "We had some guys that didn't have to get up. I think we had (Josh) Sborz up, and that was pretty much it. That's what the starter does for you.
"Anytime you're in a series like this, that's always a good thing when your starter does a good job and gets you deep in the game the way he did. Chappy, nice job, Leclerc. A really great effort by him."
Certainly a win in Game 1 goes a long ways toward grabbing momentum in a best-of-three series. However, Texas not only brings that advantage into Wednesday, but the win also allows Bochy to decide how he wants to use his bullpen in Game 2 rather than be forced into decisions because of usage on Tuesday.
Tyler Glasnow went just five innings for the Rays on Tuesday, forcing manager Kevin Cash to deploy three additional pitchers after that. With Tampa Bay choosing to go with just 11 pitchers in the Wild Card round, will that decision coupled with Tuesday's circumstances give the advantage to the Rangers? If Texas can get to Rays starter Zach Eflin on Wednesday, it's very possible.