Rays ace Tyler Glasnow says something was ‘definitely strange’ about season-worst start vs. Blue Jays

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Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow had his shortest start of the season last time out against the Toronto Blue Jays, lasting just 4 2/3 innings despite throwing 93 pitches. Afterward, Glasnow piggybacked on comments from Brian Anderson of the Rays’ broadcast team, who wondered if the Blue Jays were either stealing signs or picking up on Glasnow tipping.

“I don’t know; I definitely think about it,” Glasnow told reporters, including Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m not quite sure. I think you’d have to ask the Blue Jays what was going on. It was definitely a weird start for me. It was definitely strange. I think I had some decent swing-and-miss stuff. I think that the takes were different.”

Glasnow, who pitches again Wednesday night, allowed five runs on nine hits (including a pair of home runs) during his outing against Toronto. He struck out a season-low two batters; he had previously punched out at least 10 batters in four of his five most recent starts. Glasnow also coerced a season-low 11 whiffs, including only three on his trademark curveball. Here’s how his curveball has performed in each of his starts this season, to provide some context:

With that in mind, Anderson comes across as more reasonable than he might have appeared at first blush. “All I know is I’ve watched enough of these games, and you understand Glasnow’s stuff, and I’ve seen enough to know something was wrong,” he said, again per Topkin. “I don’t know if it was from Tyler’s end or from the Blue Jays’ end, but something was in play. It didn’t look right. It didn’t feel right. Something was off.”

Of course, there’s no evidence that the Blue Jays were doing anything wrong. Occam’s razor suggests it was a combination of good hitting and off pitching. The second most likely explanation has some precedent, too. Glasnow has a history of tipping pitches, dating back to the 2019 American League Divisional Series against the Houston Astros. Manager Kevin Cash pushed back against that theory, however, instead crediting Toronto’s lineup.

The Blue Jays entered Wednesday with the fifth best offense in the majors, according to FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric. Additionally, they have the seventh-best contact rate as a team. 

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