Glasnow outduels Sale in 'very surreal' outing

April 28th, 2019

BOSTON -- looked up to 's success as he paved his own way to the Major Leagues. So when he faced off against him at Fenway Park in the Rays’ 5-2 win on Sunday afternoon, the pitching matchup resonated.

“He’s an unbelievable pitcher,” Glasnow said. “He’s been one of my favorites for a long time. I still am able to kind of step back and realize how cool of a situation it is to just be able to throw against guys like that. yesterday, I watched him growing up.

“It still feels very surreal to me. It’s cool.”

On Sunday it was the 25-year-old Glasnow who prevailed against the seven-time All-Star. He improved to a 5-0 on the season as the Rays avenged last weekend’s sweep at the hands of the Red Sox at Tropicana Field with a sweep of their own at Fenway Park. Glasnow fanned nine over 6 2/3 innings, his second-most of the season. He powered through five scoreless innings before drove in Boston’s first run in the sixth with a sac fly, and Michael Chavis, the Red Sox's top-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, smacked a 441-foot solo home run in the seventh to give the Red Sox their only two runs of the day.

With the win, Glasnow became only the second pitcher in franchise history to record five W’s by the end of April. (Matt Moore did it in 2013.)

“I thought he was outstanding,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “He kind of picked up right where he’s been all season. To limit that offense like that in this ballpark is really challenging, and it just speaks volumes to how good his stuff was.”

The Red Sox noticed improvements from even just a week ago, when Glasnow pitched 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts, allowing two runs off three hits and a home run in a loss at home.

“He was good,” Red Sox shortstop said. “I think his changeup was one of his better offspeed pitches that was working today for lefties. I think to righties, his curveball wasn’t as sharp as it was when we faced him at his place. But he was throwing a changeup for strikes against the lefties. For righties, he has that heater with movement and was getting a lot of swings.”

Cash has been impressed by the progress Glasnow has made since he was traded from the Pirates to the Rays last July. Currently, boasting a 1.75 ERA, Glasnow holds the Rays’ all-time third-lowest ERA in the month of April (Chris Archer had an 0.84 ERA in 2015 and Moore had a 1.13 ERA in ‘13).

“This year he’s just taken off,” Cash said. “He’s pretty special when he’s out on the mound. He makes really good hitters have difficult at-bats against him.”

Another close one

Cash didn’t expect anything different. A close game that could have gone either way until the final out? That’s become the norm when the Rays play the Red Sox.

The Rays jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, thanks to a two-run homer by in the first inning and a two-run triple by in the second. But the Red Sox threatened with runs in the sixth and seventh, setting up another save situation for in the ninth.

“Here we go again. No surprise,” Cash said. “Their bats are so solid, they put so much pressure on the defense, the pitcher, everybody. They’re going to get runs. Four runs doesn’t feel like four runs in this ballpark.”

Those early runs were key for the Rays, who have outscored their opponents 28-4 in first innings. Not only did Robertson put the Rays on the board, he also belted his first home run since July 23, 2018. The second baseman has seven RBIs in his last eight games.

“I think I’m on that road to get back to myself,” Robertson said. “First month or whatever hasn’t been me, the way I’ve been playing. But that’s why you go out there every day and try to turn it around. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”