Glasnow comes up 'huge' when Dodgers need it

Backed by bats, right-hander tosses 8 scoreless, strikes out 10 to wrap homestand

April 22nd, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- There’s really no such thing as a must-win game in April. But the Dodgers sure felt like they needed to win on Sunday.

Playing the finale of a nine-game homestand, they’d already dropped their third straight series at home for the first time since Aug. 3-22, 2018, and were looking to avoid their first sweep of the season.

The right-hander turned in an eight-inning gem in L.A.’s 10-0 win over the Mets at Dodger Stadium, punched out 10 for his second double-digit strikeout game in his last three starts. It was his first time completing eight innings since May 2021, when he did so twice to set a career high. Glasnow also became the first Dodgers starter to go eight innings since Clayton Kershaw on July 15, 2022, in Anaheim.

“Today was a great one, and he impacted us in a lot of ways,” manager Dave Roberts said of Glasnow. “Starting pitchers that have been around, they understand what's at stake when they take the baseball that particular start. And today, we were in the middle of it as far as workload in the ‘pen recently, going into an off-day. To give our guys a chance to reset, have two days down, was huge.”

It was a fine rebound from Glasnow’s last time out on Monday, in which he allowed six earned runs on eight hits and two walks against the Nationals. He was antsy to get back out there, having his spot in the rotation moved up so that he would not have to wait a week between starts, which had the added benefit of getting left-hander James Paxton an extra day of rest.

Overall, though, Glasnow has been just about everything the Dodgers could have hoped for when they acquired him from the Rays for Ryan Pepiot and Jonny DeLuca in December, then signed him to a five-year, $136.5 million extension. Glasnow earned the title of Opening Day starter out of Spring Training, and four of his six regular-season outings have been quality starts, including Sunday.

Glasnow admitted to feeling better physically than he did in his previous start, having recovered from an illness he’d been battling -- and it was all part of him being more in sync as a whole.

“Working on stuff throughout the week after last start, I think just being more relaxed and rhythmic usually helps me be in the zone a bit longer and have [a game] like this,” said Glasnow. “So I think today, just rhythm-wise and how my body was moving, was just efficient, and I was able to get out of innings quick.”

And the Dodgers sorely needed that, given how lacking in length their rotation has been recently. Just two of L.A.’s last eight starts have lasted more than five innings, stretching the bullpen thin. But Glasnow’s performance necessitated just one relief frame -- a perfect ninth from -- which, paired with Monday’s off-day, should help restore equilibrium.

That, combined with an offensive outburst, resulted in what Roberts called the Dodgers’ “first complete baseball game” in some time, a total team effort where everything went right. It was a good way to close out an overall rough homestand, although going 3-6 still made it the Dodgers’ worst nine-game homestand since July 13-21, 2002, when they went 2-7.

Swoons happen to even the best of teams, however, and can strike at any time of year -- just ask the 2017 Dodgers, who went 0-7 during a homestand from Sept. 3-10, en route to winning 104 games.

But you’re always going to need a stopper, and Glasnow showed that he can be counted on to be that guy.

“If I'm being honest, I wasn't ever super worried about it,” said Glasnow. “I think we all know how talented our team is. It's obviously important [to stop a skid], but I think with it being this early in the year, I was never too worried about us, like, not hitting for the rest of the year. It was gonna come back eventually.”