Tyler Glasnow fired six shutout innings on Opening Day, while Austin Meadows hit a crucial eighth-inning homer, as the Tampa Bay Rays edged out the Miami Marlins on Thursday, 1-0.
Glasnow made his first-ever Opening Day start and was dominant, allowing only a first-inning, two-out infield dribbler to third off the bat of Jesus Aguilar.
Leaning heavily on his four-seam fastball (40 thrown, 24 strikes, 60% strike rate, 18% SwStr%) and his newfound cut-slider (26 thrown, 16 strikes, 62% strike rate, 19% SwStr%), Glasnow kept Miami’s over-anxious batters off-balance, limiting hard contact while coaxing seven ground outs to three fly ball outs. His fastball sat at 98 mph, although he hit the century mark on more than one occasion. And after Glasnow relinquished his lone hit, he retired his next 16 batters in a row, collecting six strikeouts overall. The right-hander threw 57 of 76 pitches for strikes (75% strike rate) and, impressively, found himself in just two three-ball counts.
I think the last couple starts in spring, I’ve kind of opened up my eyes to like, ‘Wow, I’ve been really kind of getting by on two pitches when I really should have not been. I just think it makes it so much easier for me in terms of options and guys aren’t selling out.— Tyler Glasnow
Meanwhile, Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara was nearly as effective across six frames, limiting Tampa Bay’s lineup to two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts despite loading the bases in the first inning.
Ryan Thompson followed Glasnow with a scoreless seventh, including a swinging strikeout of Starlin Marte on a filthy 79 mph slider that started on the inside part of the plate and ended up in the left-handed batter’s box.
Then in the Rays’ half of the eighth, Meadows drove in Tampa Bay’s only run on a blast to right-center. The outfielder, who was impacted by COVID-19 last season, came up with two outs against right-hander Yimi Garcia. After working the count to 2-0, Meadows turned on a 95 mph fastball and sent it 419 feet away. The hit registered 108 mph off the bat.
From there, it was up to the Stable — Pete Fairbanks and Diego Castillo — to lock things down for Tampa Bay. Fairbanks entered the contest in the home half of the eighth and allowed a one-out infield single to Jorge Alfaro, who later stole second with two outs. After Fairbanks walked pinch-hitter Garrett Cooper, former Rays outfielder Corey Dickerson flew out to Kevin Kiermaier in center, ending that threat.
Finally, after leaving the bases loaded (again) in the Rays’ half of the ninth, Diego Castillo came on and promptly struck out Marte on three pitches. But, they weren’t out of danger just yet; Aguilar put a scare into every Tampa Bay player and fan when he launched a fly-ball to deep left-field. He, however, flew out at the warning track as everyone let out an audible sigh of relief. The right-hander punched out Duvall to end the game, keeping Tampa Bay on the winning side of the ledger.
The New What Next
Ryan Yarbrough will get the start for Tampa Bay, pitching opposite of Pablo Lopez in the second game of the season.
Ryan Yarbrough allowed two earned runs on three hits across 5-1/3 innings in his final spring outing against Atlanta. He struck out four and hit a batter. Yarbrough accomplished his solid line against Atlanta’s regulars, turning in a much better performance than when he faced them a week earlier. The left-hander finished Grapefruit League play having allowed two runs or fewer in three of his four turns and posted an impressive 5.5 K/BB across 13-2/3 innings.
Pablo Lopez had a solid spring, posting a 2.63 ERA and 9 K/BB across 13-2/3 frames, as the 25-year-old is looking to take another step forward. Last season he posted a 3.61 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and a 24.1% strikeout rate. Lopez is 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in three career starts against the Rays. Last season, Lopez relied primarily on a 94 mph four-seam fastball, an 88 mph changeup, and a 94 mph sinker, while also mixing in a 91 mph cutter and a 79 mph curveball. Key Matchups: Yandy Díaz (1-3, RBI), Kevin Kiermaier (1-4, 2 RBI), Austin Meadows (1-4, 2B), Yoshi Tsutsugo (2-2, HR, RBI), Joey Wendle (4-8, 2B, HR, RBI)
You can view the starting lineup, and read about the series in our preview, below.
Rays 4/2/21 Starting Lineup
- Tsutsugo 1B
- Meadows LF
- Arozarena RF
- B. Lowe 2B
- Diaz 3B
- Wendle SS
- Margot CF
- Mejia C
- Yarbrough LHP
— The pitching staff looked fantastic on Thursday, however, the offense looked less so, going 0-5 wRISP while stranding five runners on the base paths.