On Aug. 31, Tyler Glasnow pitched the best game of his still-developing major league career, yielding a run and two hits in seven innings at Cleveland.
He lost the game but flashed the form the Tampa Bay Rays want to see as he gets this major league thing together.
On Tuesday night, the big right-hander, who is 1-5 this year and 3-14 in his major league career (with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay), goes against rookie Shane Bieber and the Indians in the second game of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
The Rays are in pursuit of their 13th straight home victory.
On Monday night, the Rays’ bats helped teammate Blake Snell by chasing Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber in the second inning, then couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead before Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run homer in the ninth to win it.
“An exciting win to say the least,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “You just don’t see that type of inning (the second) against Corey Kluber. We were fortunate that we had some good at-bats, some patient at-bats, and got some big hits.”
The Cleveland bullpen then shut the Rays down — until the ninth, when Choi connected off Brad Hand, the eighth Indians pitcher, with two outs to win it.
Tampa Bay, still a long-shot wild-card hopeful, came off the three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles and have now won have won eight of their last nine and 17 of their last 20 games. They are 15 games above .500 and are 33-8 at the Trop since June 11.
The Rays are 25-11 since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
The Indians, who are closing in on clinching the American League Central, got Andrew Miller back Monday and will activate the recently required Josh Donaldson on Tuesday night.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) September 11, 2018
Cleveland had to answer reported complaints by Yankees and Red Sox contenders about the way the club acquired Donaldson and was then able to have him play rehab games in the minors.
“We didn’t do anything different than any other team could’ve done,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “And, in fact, there were a lot of other teams that were negotiating with Josh at the time of the trade. Now, we can only see the one reality of what played out, because only one team can end up getting the guy.
“And there’s only one thing to assess, and that’s what happened in the time that we had Josh with us. But, had he been traded to another team, the very same process very well could’ve played out with them.”
In the start after the big game in Cleveland, Glasnow lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Toronto, yielding five hits, two walks, and seven runs. The only positive was his two outs were both strikeouts.
“I don’t think it gets much worse than that,” said Glasnow, who has 112 strikeouts in 87 1/3 innings this season. “Just have to forget about it and get the next.”
Bieber goes for the Indians, who are close to clinching the AL Central. The right-hander is 9-3 with a 4.63 ERA and has gone 4-1 since July 24 — 3-1 with an unimpressive 5.53 ERA in his last five times out.
The night after Glasnow suffered his tough loss to the Indians, Bieber lost to the Rays, allowing nine hits and four runs, all earned, in 5 1/3 innings.
The Rays won Monday without Kevin Kiermaier (illness) and Matt Duffy (back tightness).
While Kluber’s teammates hurt his Cy Young chances – his ERA went from 2.75 to 2.91 – Snell can bolster his own campaign when he goes for his 19th victory of the season in Wednesday night’s series finale against the Indians.