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Stellar Glasnow, Rays have Yanks' number

Tampa Bay has won 7 of 8 vs. NY this season, 6 in a row overall
@juanctoribio
September 1, 2020

Had Tyler Glasnow stayed healthy in 2019, the right-hander was well on his way to becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career, and he was pitching well enough to be considered a legitimate candidate for the American League Cy Young Award. Glasnow is now fully healthy in

Had Tyler Glasnow stayed healthy in 2019, the right-hander was well on his way to becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career, and he was pitching well enough to be considered a legitimate candidate for the American League Cy Young Award.

Glasnow is now fully healthy in 2020, and his dominant stuff was on display yet again in the Rays’ 5-3 win over the Yankees on Monday at Yankee Stadium.

“He was big for us,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “We’re starting to trend in the right direction with our starting pitching, and it’s good to see Glas find that rhythm really early. Just an outstanding performance. He had it all going.”

Box score

Behind Glasnow, the Rays continued their dominance against the Yankees this season. Tampa Bay has won seven of eight games against New York, including going 4-0 at Yankee Stadium. With the win, the Rays hold a 4 1/2-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East and have won six straight games overall.

“They’ve always kicked our butts here at their place, and we’ve flipped the script for 2020,” Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “Seven of eight [wins] sounds pretty good, but we want to make it nine out of 10 leaving here in a couple of days.”

In his previous start against the Orioles, Glasnow recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts. On Monday, Glasnow picked up right where he left off, tossing six shutout innings of two-hit ball against the Yankees and striking out nine while not allowing his first hit until DJ LeMahieu beat out an infield single in the sixth.

Glasnow kept the Yankees’ offense off-balance all night, utilizing all three of his pitches effectively. The right-hander threw his four-seam fastball 55 times, averaging 97 mph and maxing out at 99 mph. As is usually the case when Glasnow has the fastball working, he also has a lot of success with the curveball, a pitch that is becoming one of the best in baseball.

Entering Monday’s start, opponents were just 4-for-38 (.105) with 27 strikeouts against Glasnow’s curveball this season. Against the Yankees, Glasnow threw his curveball 24 times, inducing 14 swings, with nine of them resulting in whiffs. In eight at-bats that ended on the curveball, seven were strikeouts and the other was a groundout.

“It was good,” Glasnow said of his curveball. “I think it had a lot of the same trajectory, and the tunneling was good today with my heater. I think some of my heaters were low today, so I got some more swings and misses on the curves that bounced in front [of the plate].”

Aside from the curveball, Glasnow has made a more conscious effort to utilize a changeup that averages 91.8 mph and maxed out at 93.6 mph on Monday. Glasnow threw eight changeups against the Yanks, throwing it to both lefties and righties. With the three-pitch combination working, the Yankees recorded just four hard-hit balls against Glasnow.

“I’m playing behind greatness out there,” said Kiermaier, who hit his second homer of the season, a solo shot in the second inning. “A lot of times I feel like I don’t even need to take my glove out there. He’s one of a kind. He works his butt off each and every day. He cares so much and always wants to maximize his potential as a player. Watching what he does and how silly he makes guys look … it’s incredible. The sky is truly the limit for him.”

The Rays’ offense backed up Glasnow by scoring three early runs against Yankees starter Gerrit Cole. Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run homer in the first inning and is now 8-for-12 with three home runs in his career against Cole during the regular season.

“He’s one of the best pitchers and seeing the best pitcher just brings the best out of me,” Choi said. “I can’t really tell you what I see at the plate, but just from a competitive side, I want to hit against the best pitchers in the league.”

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.