After a 7-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rays look for a sweep on Thursday afternoon. With an off-day for the Athletics, a Rays win in the series finale would give them an opportunity to enter their upcoming series, this weekend, against the ChiSox 7-1/2 games back in the Wildcard race.
Something to keep in mind, Tampa Bay has an easier schedule than both the Athletics and Mariners, with the majority of the remaining games at the Trop, where they Rays are much more successful. I’m not saving money for a playoff run at the moment, although they’re in the running until they’re not. Whatever the case, it could get interesting these last two months.
The recently acquired Tyler Glasnow, and unknown quantity to a large extent, got the start in last night’s ballgame and exceeded expectations, throwing three innings of one run ball on 48 pitches (34 strikes, 71% strike rate, 21% SwStr rate). Glasnow allowed two hits (including a solo home run), one walk, and struck out five.
Fastball, curveball, slider today, I had a good feel for things, Glasnow said following the Rays’ win. I felt relaxed out there. Overall, the feel in this clubhouse is really good. It’s relaxed, it’s friendly.
Rays manager Kevin Cash had nothing but superlatives for the right-hander, saying,
Probably not going to (throw 70 percent strikes) all of the time. But a great start. If he’s featuring that kind of stuff at a 70 percent clip in the zone, he’s going to have a special career.
On Glasnow’s repertoire … The right-hander threw 24 of 35 four-seam fastballs for strikes (five whiffs), averaging 97.6 mph (and topping out at 99.5 mph); 3 of 5 sliders for strikes (1 whiff); and 7 of 8 curveballs for strikes (1 whiff). He was able to move his fastball all over the zone at will, and played his off-speed stuff off of his heater.
The only real criticism for Glasnow, is that he left a fair number of hanging breaking pitches in hittable locations. On of those very hittable offerings was an 0-2 curveball that flattened out over the heart of the plate, and was consequently hit into the Rays tank — thanks a lot, Kole Calhoun. Otherwise, it was an excellent introduction to the flame throwing right-hander, who should have a longer leash his next time out.
The New What Next
Hunter Wood (0-0, 3.38 ERA) will open for the Rays, and will be followed by Jaylen Beeks (0-0, 21.60 ERA), who will make his Tropicana Field debut. They’ll be opposed by Andrew Heaney (6-6, 3.64 ERA).
Wood has allowed just one run in 4-2/3 innings in the three previous outings, and this will be his first appearance against the Angels. Beeks allowed eight runs on 10 hits and three walks over 3-1/3 innings Saturday in Baltimore. Only 45 of his 82 pitches were thrown for strikes (55% strike rate), which is a recipe for disaster for a pitcher like Beeks, who relies upon deception and getting ahead in the count.
Beeks actually wasn’t hit that hard, “sort of placed to death,” as Kevin Cash put it, although the damage was still self-inflicted due to the compromising position he put himself in by falling behind hitters, and throwing only eight first-pitch strikes.
Beeks is well aware of the circumstances leading to his rough outing:
I’ve got to get in the zone more. Just didn’t get ahead of guys and put myself in bad counts.
That made the bad results less concerning to Cash:
It seemed like a lot he was behind, just 1-0, 2-0 on a lot of guys and that’s not him. So that’s something we’re confident he can correct here real quick.
Ideally you’d just like to see him bounce back, throw some more strikes, control the count a little better. We’ll probably have some better outings from him.
Heaney gave up up three earned runs on seven hits over eight innings in his last start, striking out five and walking none. Heaney was efficient in his outing, throwing just 63 pitches through the first seven innings, and needing just 81 (70% strike rate) to make it through eight frames. Heaney, however, cost himself a shot at his seventh win of the season after allowing the game-tying run in the eighth inning before being pulled from the game. It was still another solid start for Heaney, who has quietly been a workhorse over the last two months. This was the seventh time this season he hurled seven innings or more, and has lowered his standard peripherals to a 3.64 ERA and a solid 1.13 WHIP. Heaney’s command has been impressive, with the southpaw collecting 111 punch outs against just 32 walks through 116-1/3 innings this season. Heaney allowed four runs on three hits (including a grand slam) over six innings in a loss to the Rays on May 19. Key Matchups: Daniel Robertson (1-3, HR, 4 RBI)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 8/2/18 Starting Lineup
— Wondering where the candidates, running for a seat on the Hillsborough County Commission, stand on using public subsidies to build a stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays? Noah Pransky (WTSP, Shadow of the Stadium) wondered the same, and prepared a voting guide for you. Give the link (below) a look, and forward it to any Hillsborough County voter that may be able to use this guide in August and November.
Remember folks, this issue WILL NOT got to referendum ahead of the January 1, 2019 expiration of the memorandum of understanding between the City of St. Pete and the Rays, which allowed the team to search the region for a new stadium site.
— Jake Bauers enters the day having homered in three consecutive games.