Tyler Glasnow was very good in his season debut Monday night, leading the pitching staff to 19 combined strikeouts, while the offense drove in 14 runs en route to a dominating 14-5 win over Atlanta. The Tampa Bay Rays have now won three-in-a-row after dropping the first game of the season to the
Toronto Buffalo Blue Jays.
Glasnow was absolutely dominant over the front four innings, allowing just one hit — a solo homer to Dansby Swanson — and two walks while striking out nine. Leaning heavily on his big fastball — which he got up to 100.1 mph in the first inning — his 12-6 curveball which induced some awkward swings and misses, and a handful of mid-90’s changeups (!!!), Glasnow retired the last seven batters in a row — punching out five of them — including the side in the fourth inning. Glasnow threw 72 pitches, 45 for strikes, and coaxed 15 swings and misses (63% strike rate, 33% whiff rate).
Swanson opened the scoring in the second inning by hitting a home run to centerfield on a 98.8 mph 3-2 fastball — the fastest Glasnow pitch that’s ever been hit for a home run.
Yet, Tampa Bay evened the score when Mike Zunino uncorked a 425-foot homer to left-center, his first of the season.
The Rays really poured it on in an eight-run fourth inning against Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz. They did so on just four hits, taking advantage of three walks and a wild pitch — scoring their most runs in an inning since October 4, 2015 (at Toronto).
It all started with one out when José Martínez — whose at-bats have progressively gotten better over the course of this young season — and Yoshi Tsutsugo walked on full-count pitches. After spitting on a ball in the first pitch of his at-bat, Renfroe blasted the three-run homer to left-center, his first of the season, for a three-run advantage. Then, on the very next pitch, Joey Wendle lined a solo homer to right, pushing the lead to four. It was the first time the Rays hit back-to-back home runs in 365 days (July 28, 2019, at Toronto).
Willy Adames walked, chasing Foltynewicz from both the game and the roster, forcing Brian Snitker to call on right-hander Touki Toussaint. After Adames swiped second, Kevin Kiermaier lined a single off Swanson’s glove at short, scoring Willy and making it a 6-1 contest. Zunino was then hit by a pitch, pushing the Outlaw up to second, before Brandon Lowe hit a two-out, two-RBI triple, that bounced in front of Ender Inciarte as he lept against the centerfield wall, for a seven-run advantage. Finally, a wild pitch brought home Lowe, capping the rally.
Diego Castillo, who returned from the paternity list earlier in the day, pitched a perfect fifth, putting him in line for the win.
Neither Renfroe nor the Rays were done scoring. In the bottom of the frame, the outfielder blasted his second homer of the night, making it a nine-run routing of the reigning NL East champs.
Jalen Beeks entered the game in shaky fashion in the sixth inning and allowed Atlanta to get back into the thick of things by plating four runs on Freddie Freeman’s single and a three-run homer by Matt Adams. The rally was set up by a strikeout/wild pitch that allowed Ronald Acuña Jr. to reach, and a rare error by Adames. However, the left-hander reigned it in; Beeks went on to punch out six batters in his remaining 2-2/3 innings of work (seven total) while giving up a 1-1 single to Acuña Jr. in the seventh inning.
Tampa Bay answered in the bottom of the sixth when Martínez drove in a pair of runs on a base hit, while Adames drove home another run in the seventh on a double down the left-field line.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of the eighth Martínez capped the scoring with a moonshot home run into the Left Field Ledge, his first of the season.
Finally, José Alvarado worked around a base hit for a scoreless ninth, also notching Tampa Bay’s 19th strikeout of the game — setting a franchise record.
The New What Next
A battle of right-handers. Yonny Chirinos will get the start in the last home game of the opening homestand, pitching opposite of Kyle Wright.
Yonny Chirinos threw live batting practice against Kevin Kiermaier, Jose Martinez, and Mike Brosseau among others on Thursday. His velocity was normal (92-94 mph on the Rays’ in-house radar, which has been a touch conservative during Summer Camp) and he, according to Solondz, appeared to have good sink on his fastball and a solid slider across four innings of work. He threw 42 of 62 pitches for strikes (68% strike rate). Chirinos is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in one outing (5.0 IP) against Atlanta.
Kyle Wright threw his first live batting practice last Sunday and pitched in an intrasquad game at some point during the week after being slow to arrive at Summer Camp due to COVID-19 testing and travel. Wright is arguably the most talented starting pitcher on Atlanta’s roster, relying primarily on a hard 87 mph Slider with 12-6 movement and a whiffy 92 mph sinker with natural sinking action, while also mixing in a whiffy 94 mph four-seam fastball with natural sinking action and slight arm-side run, an 81 mph curveball, and an 85 mph changeup with arm-side fade. He has never faced the Rays.
You can read about the series in our preview, and I’ll post the starting lineup upon availability. Noteworthiness is also below.
Rays 7/28/20 Starting Lineup
- Choi 1B
- B. Lowe 2B
- Díaz 3B
- Tsutsugo LF
- Martínez DH
- Wendle SS
- Renfroe RF
- Kiermaier CF
- Pérez C
— Putting things into perspective: the Rays have won three-in-a-row, walked it off in extra innings (on Sunday), set a franchise record with 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, and plated eight runs in an inning — with the latter two happening on Monday.
— After scoring 14 total runs across three games (4.67 RPG) and going just 5-for-28 with runners in scoring position (.179 wRISP), last night every spot in the lineup got on base and scored as the Rays plated 14 total runs and went 4-for-8 wRISP.
— Hunter Renfroe (0-8), Mike Zunino (1-5), Jose Martinez (1-8), Yoshi Tsutsugo (1-9), Kevin Kiermaier (1-12), Yandy Diaz (1-10), Manuel Margot (1-10) combined to go 6-for-62 over the weekend. However, last night they combined to go 6-for-13 with eight runs, nine RBI, four home runs, and two walks.