Glasnow delivers just what Dodgers need with 7-inning gem

Ohtani makes Dodger Stadium history during 2-homer game

June 17th, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- If there was ever a day the Dodgers needed near perfection from , it was Sunday. And he gave them just that.

The Dodgers were in the midst of a stretch of 12 straight games with no days off. Earlier in the day, the club announced that co-ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto was heading to the injured list with a strained right rotator cuff, his short start the day prior leaving the Dodgers’ bullpen worn down. Offense once again proved difficult to come by against a tough Royals staff -- and that was before Mookie Betts took a hit by pitch to his left hand, resulting in a fracture.

Glasnow responded by throwing seven scoreless innings in L.A.’s 3-0 win over the Royals on Father’s Day at Dodger Stadium.

“Glas was great,” said manager Dave Roberts. “We needed some length today. He was efficient with his pitches, all of his pitches, and it's an aggressive-swinging team. He was getting strike one, he was getting swing and miss, he mixed really well. And to get him through seven was huge and really, really helpful.”

It had been a bit of a difficult run for Glasnow recently, as he entered Sunday with the Dodgers having lost five of his past six starts and a 4.00 ERA in that span. But you wouldn’t have known that watching him work against Kansas City. Glasnow was both sharp and efficient, needing just 85 pitches to get through his seven frames, with 62 going for strikes.

“The whole key to him is how many strikes he threw,” said Royals manager Matt Quatraro, who coached Glasnow with the Rays from 2018-22. “Sometimes he can scatter the ball and [get] a little bit around the zone, but today, he threw a super high percentage of strikes. And when he does that, he’s going to be really tough.”

The curveball factored in prominently, with Glasnow throwing it for 31.8 percent of his pitches, up from his season average of 16.7. Five of his nine strikeouts came on the curve, as he increased his MLB-leading K total to 125.

“I've been able to land it for strikes the last couple of starts, and I think I've had mechanical adjustments to try to just keep it in zone, as opposed to just always trying to strike guys out with it,” said Glasnow. “But yeah, just trying to like have another option I can throw for strikes.”

And it was a mostly low-stress afternoon for Glasnow, who faced the minimum in five out of his seven innings. The only time he really ran into trouble was in the fourth, when he worked around a one-out infield single and a walk to strand a pair on base. It was Glasnow’s first scoreless outing since April 21, when he went eight innings against the Mets.

“He was really absolutely fantastic,” Shohei Ohtani, who hit two of the Dodgers’ three homers, said through interpreter Will Ireton. “Really no threats throughout the game. So I think we all felt that we had to really pick him up this game.”

Ohtani's first home run was his second-longest of the season, traveling 451 feet. Along with his 464-foot homer on May 5, he is the only player to hit two homers of 450 or more feet at Dodger Stadium since Statcast started tracking home runs in 2015.

Glasnow, whose nine seasons in the big leagues have been marked by numerous absences due to injuries, set personal highs in innings (120) and strikeouts (162) in 2023. With 93 innings and 125 K’s, he seems well on pace to blow past both marks this season.

But the Dodgers are trying to be cognizant of what a potential career-heaviest workload could mean for Glasnow, looking for ways to mitigate those effects where possible. That’s part of why he didn’t go back out for the eighth inning, though he felt he could have.

“We're trying to give him extra rest in between starts,” said Roberts. “And I think that in a particular start, if I can curtail an inning here or there, I'll do so. But outside of that, that is just kind of read and react on how he's feeling.”

“I think any time you're pitching, any time you’re starting, you want to take it as long as you can,” said Glasnow. “Everyone probably wants to throw 130 pitches. But I think it's more about managing yourself against yourself. So whatever [Roberts] wants to do, I trust him and it's his say.”