“I just wish he had a third pitch.”
Some variation of that comment has been uttered countless times regarding Tyler Glasnow the last few years. Well, he has that third pitch now.
Armed with a new slider to pair with his fastball and curveball, Glasnow befuddled the overmatched Rangers on Monday. The big right-hander went 7 2/3 innings and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base. He allowed just two singles – one of the infield variety – and one walk as the Rays won a pitcher’s duel 1-0.
Oh, and the strikeouts. Glasnow had 14 of them, which was a new career high and tied for the third-most in Rays history. He induced a whopping 27 swings and misses, which is the most ever by a Rays pitcher in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008).
Back to that slider, though.
In his first two full seasons with the Rays, Glasnow threw his fastball and curveball combo more than 95 percent of the time. Sure, he had a show-me changeup, but not really. He was, for all intents and purposes, a two-pitch pitcher.
Glasnow was getting by just fine with those two offerings. In those aforementioned two seasons, he posted a 2.90 ERA and 167/36 K/BB ratio over 118 innings covering 23 starts. Fantastic numbers. However, do some quick math in your head and you’ll notice that he averaged barely more than five innings per start. Part of that is manager Kevin Cash and how he likes to handle a pitching staff, but it’s hard to blame him for not allowing Glasnow to go too deep into a game when he’s only showing the opposition two pitches.
That’s no longer the case, though. In his first two starts of the season, Glasnow threw his new slider 33.3 percent of the time. On Monday he threw it 23 percent of the time, inducing six whiffs on 12 swings.
Not coincidentally, Cash has had a longer leash with Glasnow now that the righty has a third tool on his tool belt. Glasnow has gone at least six innings in each of his first three starts in 2021. In 2019, he went six-plus frames just five times in 12 starts. In 2020, just four times in 11 starts.
Glasnow adding a third pitch – and one that looks like it could be dominant – gives him as much upside as any starter in the game. The 27-year-old boasts a microscopic 0.46 ERA, 0.51 WHIP and 29/3 K/BB ratio over his first 19 2/3 innings this season. Just stay healthy, Tyler.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Casey Mize vs. HOU – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Mize didn’t even go six innings in any of his seven starts last season, let alone seven. He needed just 89 pitches to navigate through his seven frames against the Astros to pick up his first major league victory. Just five punchouts and six swinging strikes leaves something to be desired, but the strikeouts should come for the former No. 1 overall pick as long as he maintains his early-season velocity bump.
Freddy Peralta vs. CHC – 6 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 10 K
Having to face the same opponent in each of his first two starts didn’t affect Peralta. The young right-hander was dominant on Monday, yielding only a Kris Bryant solo home run over his six frames in the Brewers’ win. It was the first and only run that Peralta has surrendered over 13 innings this season, and he has a whopping 24 strikeouts over that span. His control problems will lead to some blowups, but Peralta can miss bats with the best of them.
Huascar Ynoa vs. MIA – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 10 K
Ynoa earned another opportunity after a strong spot start last week and he’s surely going to get more chances after this effort. The 22-year-old hit 100 mph on the radar gun and averaged 97.2 mph with his heater, yielding just a solo homer to Adam Duvall. Ynoa is a two-pitch pitcher whose past control problems haven’t popped up yet this season, but if he can throw enough strikes there could be some mixed league viability.
Hitters with an EDGE
Akil Baddoo vs. HOU – 2-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
Baddoo hit the second of back-to-back home runs off of Zack Greinke in the third inning Monday, following Renato Nunez with a 450-foot blast to center field. He also added a double and a sacrifice fly. The Rule 5 pick has started four of the last five games and looks to be a regular against righties at this point. He might even be earning a move up in the batting order.
Kyle Higashioka vs. TOR – 2-for-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Higashioka was in Monday’s lineup to catch Gerrit Cole’s second start in a row and he made some noise with the bat in this one with home runs off of Robbie Ray and Ryan Borucki. The 30-year-old has made just the two starts this season and will continue playing second fiddle to Gary Sanchez, who is off to a nice start at the plate.
Wil Myers vs. PIT – 3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI
Myers drove in five of the Padres’ six runs in Monday’s victory over the Pirates. Two came on a bomb to center field in the sixth inning, giving the outfielder three long balls on the season. Myers has a hit in 10 of 11 games this season and is sporting a robust 1.110 OPS. Only Tyler Naquin has driven in more runs in the National League so far.
Robbie Ray, SP, TOR – 35 percent rostered in Yahoo fantasy leagues
Ray gave up a two-run home run to Higashioka in his final inning of work Monday, but overall it was a solid season debut for the left-hander. The southpaw showed encouraging signs during spring training before bruising his elbow during a fall at home, as he upped his velocity and filled up the strike zone. We know the strikeout upside is there with Ray. He just has to throw enough strikes and keep the ball in the yard.
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Lucas Sims struck out the only batter he faced to record the first save of his career in Monday’s win over the Giants. Reds manager David Bell seemed to want Tejay Antone to finish things out with a four-inning save, but he fell one out shy. Amir Garrett was available, but Bell opted for Sims versus Evan Longoria.
Yimi Garcia entered Monday’s game versus the Braves with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, two runners on and the score tied. After walking the first hitter he faced, he got Ozzie Albies to ground out to end the threat. Garcia then went back out there for the bottom of the 10th after the Marlins took the lead in the top of the frame and retired the Braves in order. Anthony Bass finished out the seventh inning and Dylan Floro got the eighth. Garcia looks to be the favorite for saves in Miami’s bullpen for now.
Lou Trivino was warming up for the save chance for the A’s on Monday in Arizona and still entered even after Oakland extended their lead to four runs. He turned in a scoreless frame after Jake Diekman went 1 1/3 scoreless prior to that. Manager Bob Melvin has mentioned both relievers as closing options in the wake of Trevor Rosenthal’s season-ending thoracic outlet surgery.
Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day
Gallen will be making his season debut after missing the first week and a half of the season with a hairline fracture in his right forearm. It’s the third start for Luzardo, who has been so-so in his first two outings against tough lineups in the Astros and Dodgers.
American League Quick Hits: Anthony Rendon landed on the injured list Monday with a left groin strain … Tim Anderson (hamstring) is expected back Thursday when he's first eligible … Shohei Ohtani (blister) is unlikely to pitch for the Angels this week. He is still able to hit, and he doubled twice and drove in three runs on Monday in a 10-3 win over the Royals … Matt Olson was removed from Monday's game against the Diamondbacks after being hit on the left hand by a pitch … Gerrit Cole limited the Blue Jays to one run in six innings and struck out eight in a win Monday … Salvador Perez went 4-for-4 with an RBI and run scored on Monday in a loss to the Angels … Alex Cobb struck out 10 while being charged with three runs in 5 2/3 frames on Monday to get a win against the Royals … Zack Greinke struggled on Monday while allowing 10 hits and six runs over 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Tigers … Dane Dunning tossed four scoreless innings with five strikeouts Monday against the Rays … Max Stassi departed Monday's game against the Royals with left thumb irritation … Carlos Rodon was scratched from Monday's start against the Indians due to an upset stomach … Matt Chapman went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI on Monday … Chris Archer (elbow/forearm) could resume throwing by the end of this week … Miguel Cabrera has been diagnosed with a mild left bicep strain … Jonathan Hernandez underwent Tommy John surgery on Monday … Adalberto Mondesi (oblique) has yet to resume baseball activities … Hunter Dozier (thumb) didn’t play Monday after exiting Sunday’s game … Ramon Laureano stole two more bases while going 2-for-4 with two runs scored on Monday in a 9-5 win over the Athletics.
National League Quick Hits: Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber and Josh Harrison were activated from the COVID-19 injured list Monday. Jon Lester has been cleared to return but not activated yet, as he still needs to get built back up … Dinelson Lamet (elbow) will make at least one more start at the Padres' alternate training site before rejoining the rotation … Yu Darvish allowed a run in seven innings of work on Monday to pick up a win over the Pirates in a game the Padres won 6-2 … Carlos Carrasco (hamstring) will soon report to the Mets' alternate training site to begin fielding work. He’s already stretched out to throw four innings on the mound … Christian Yelich (back) didn’t play Monday after leaving Sunday’s game … Christian Walker (oblique) was placed on the injured list Monday … Jesse Winker (calf) hit a two-run homer and added a single in his return to the lineup Monday … Ronald Acuña Jr. tripled, walked three times, stole a base and scored twice Monday against the Marlins … Wade Miley fired five scoreless innings to help the Reds blank the Giants by a 3-0 score on Monday … Trevor Cahill struck out eight over five innings of one-run baseball in a no-decision against the Padres on Monday … After throwing just nine pitches Sunday in a game suspended by rain, Marcus Stroman will come back to start Tuesday during the Mets’ doubleheader versus the Phillies … The Diamondbacks signed Josh Reddick to a minor league contract.