Glasnow forced to pitch from behind vs. Mets

Right-hander gets into seven three-ball counts in loss Saturday

June 4th, 2017

NEW YORK -- A trio of home runs proved to be 's undoing, as he surrendered four runs over five innings in the Pirates' 4-2 loss to the Mets. But manager Clint Hurdle pointed to a different set of numbers that indicated where Glasnow went wrong Saturday night at Citi Field.

Glasnow ran up seven three-ball counts against the Mets. He retired only four hitters on three pitches or fewer, two of them in his final inning. In other words: Glasnow was falling behind hitters, and he wasn't putting them away quickly.

"That pretty much tells the story for me," Hurdle said.

Eleven starts into the season, Glasnow has the third-highest ERA (6.97), opponents' average (.308) and walk rate (11.9 percent) and the highest WHIP (1.87) among National League starters with at least 40 innings pitched. He has worked into the seventh inning only once this season, and he has worked five innings or fewer in eight of his starts.

The Pirates expected some growing pains for Glasnow when they decided to put the highly touted prospect in their Opening Day rotation. General manager Neal Huntington and Hurdle have said Glasnow is best served completing his development in the Majors, as there may not be much more he can learn by putting up video-game numbers against overmatched Triple-A hitters.

One trend has become clear a third of the way into his rookie season, and it continued Saturday night. He thrives when ahead in the count, and he's getting hit hard when he falls behind.

"It's a matter of executing pitches," Glasnow said. "Early on, it wasn't good."

Glasnow walked on five pitches to lead off the first inning. He fell behind , three balls to one strike, and Walker continued to torment his former team with a two-run shot to right-center.

Glasnow fell behind in the third inning, two balls to one strike, and Bruce hammered a solo shot just over the center-field fence. He faced an even count with in the fourth inning, two balls and two strikes, then hung a curveball that Flores mashed over the left-field wall.

It was the first time in Glasnow's professional career that he allowed three home runs in a game. In fact, there were entire Minor League seasons -- three of them: 2012, '14 and '15 -- in which he allowed only three home runs.

"A couple bad pitches got away from me, and that ended up happening," Glasnow said. "Just left them over the middle, missed my spots. Hung a curveball. I've just got to execute pitches, and that didn't happen."

There were some bright spots, according to Glasnow. All of his pitches felt good at some point throughout the night. His fastball moved well at times, but not when he needed it most. His curveball was better, except the one he hung to Flores. His last inning was his best of the night; he overcame a leadoff walk by inducing a weak popup from then getting a double-play grounder from Bruce.

"Not all negative today for me, but definitely got to step it up next time," he said.