ARLINGTON, Texas (WFLA) – The trouble for the Tampa Bay Rays started to swirl beneath the surface of that impeccable turf infield in Arlington in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Max Muncy stood on first base after he forced the Rays starting pitcher, Tyler Glasnow, to walk him on only five pitches.
Glasnow, who had only allowed one hit at this point in time, got the first out of the inning and, then, he stood on the mound preparing to pitch to Cody Bellinger.
The first pitch, a 98 mph “heater” as Glasnow likes to call his fastball, never reached the Rays catcher, Mike Zunino.
Bellinger blasted that ball 378 feet into right center field to put his team on the scoreboard.
2-0 Los Angeles Dodgers
The fifth inning proved to turn a troublesome situation into utter turmoil for Glasnow and the Rays.
He walked Mookie Betts on five pitches.
Betts stole second base.
He walked Corey Seager on nine pitches.
His pitch count was high, 99 pitches high.
He sent Justin Turner to the dugout on a swing and a miss but, in the process, both base runners advanced to increase their threat.
The next player to step to the plate was Max Muncy.
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Why was Glasnow still on the mound? He was losing control of the game and he had thrown more than 100 pitches.
“We needed a strikeout,” explained the Rays manager, Kevin Cash, after the game, “and there is not anyone better equipped to get a strikeout right there than Glas.”
The explanation was simple but, unfortunately, the following pitches did not fall in the Rays favor.
Muncy hit a ground ball and he was safe at first base when Yandy Diaz threw that ball to Zunino at home plate.
Betts scored another run.
3-1 Los Angeles Dodgers
Glasnow, who allowed a single to the next batter, headed for the dugout after that hit.
He had thrown 112 pitches and only 58 of them were strikes. He walked six batters and he would eventually allow six runs to cross home plate.
“I felt a little weird in the beginning,” said Glasnow when he was asked about his overall performance. “As the game went on, I think I was just getting on the side of it, getting a little rushed, going forward a bit too quick, but, yes, too many walks and not executing well enough.”
He admitted he could only locate his fastball, which probably helped the Dodgers hit him in that fifth inning.
“I think a lot of times, when I fall behind and the guys know I am only throwing one pitch for strikes, it gets a little easier,” said Glasnow, “so I think the execution was not there today.”
Would he have wanted Cash to pull him from the game before he was able to face Muncy, before he was able to dig himself deeper into a hole, before the damage was done?
“I felt relatively good,” said Glasnow. “I think, any pitcher, when you are in the end part of the game, you want to be left in. I just think that that is the competitive nature in it.”
Would Cash have acted differently if he knew the outcome?
However, the possibility of Glasnow getting out of that inning without a scratch was a possibility and, when he gets another chance at it, he might do it.
The Rays will get another chance on Wednesday and, according to Cash, they are ready for it.
“We bounce right back like we have done multiple times this year and find a way to win a game tomorrow,” he said. “We have Blake on the mound which is very very encouraging so we will be good.”