Tyler Glasnow nearly unhittable as Rays beat the Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG — Tyler Glasnow had no idea. Sure, the Rays ace knew that he was mowing down the Yankees for the first five innings and hadn’t given up a hit. The long, lanky right-hander, however, had no idea where his pitches were going.

“I think it was more of like an effectively wild game,” Glasnow said. “I would miss my spot for a strike and throw it somewhere near someone’s head. Like it just kind of felt all over the place.”

But Glasnow’s slider was consistent enough Saturday to dominate the Yankees. He allowed one hit over six innings and the bullpen finished off a 3-0 shutout in front of 22,943 at Tropicana Field.

It was the 12th shutout of the season for the Rays (79-52), third most in the majors. The win also clinched the season series win over the Yankees (62-67) with just one more game to play against New York this season.

The Rays scored two unearned runs in the second inning, and Josh Lowe drove in a run on a double off the centerfield wall, which was reviewed in the replay center and ruled not a home run.

Glasnow, Robert Stephenson, Jason Adam and Pete Fairbanks combined to strike out 10 Yankees, marking the Rays’ fifth consecutive game with at least 10 punchouts. Adam and Stephenson put up a perfect inning each; Fairbanks had to work around a DJ LeMahieu single.

“All three of those guys, really seems like here as of late, they’ve been on a really impressive run,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I mean, Stephenson is getting some just electric stuff with a ton of swing-and-miss to some really good hitters. Jason comes in gets two strikeouts, and then Pete comes in and closes the door.”

Glasnow put them in a tremendous spot.

He scattered the one hit — a LeMahieu single with one out in the sixth inning — walked two and struck out four. It was his third career start going at least six innings and allowing one hit or fewer. The four strikeouts were the fewest he has had in a game in which he has gone six or more innings since April 16, 2019.

It was not an overwhelming performance, but an impressive one.

“I kind of thought the strike throwing was not maybe as crisp as it had been, but he really battled, give him a lot of credit, kind of grinded through it,” Cash said. “There were a lot of back-and-forth counts, but when he needed to make pitches, he did pretty much his entire outing.”

“To go through that lineup with giving up one hit, that’s really, really impressive,” Cash added.

Glasnow retired 16 of the first 18 batters he faced Saturday without swing-and-miss stuff. He generated eight whiffs, four on his slider, which he leaned on heavily.

“I think it’s my most consistent pitch by far,” Glasnow said of the slider. “I think that and my fastball, obviously. I kind of lean on my slider a bit more now. I don’t know what the percentages are but I think it probably has to be 30-40%. I’m throwing it a lot more. I think sometimes it kind of, like, makes my other pitches bleed into it a little bit, but as far as command goes and confidence with the pitch, that’s probably my No. 1 pitch right now.”

Glasnow is throwing his slider 32.2% of the time, just a little more than he was in 2021 before he got injured. He is getting a swing-and-miss on it more than 40% of the time, and it is the ball that opponents have the fewest hard hits against.

He is using it as a very effective weapon, which the Yankees felt first hand.

“He’s just got really good stuff. He’s got really good stuff that looks like a strike for a long time and then breaks out of the zone,” Yankees centerfielder Harrison Bader said. " When you do that consistently and repeat it, you might find yourself having good success. It’s been frustrating. You try to create momentum as best you can day to day, but you’ve got to tip your cap. They pitched well today.”

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