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Rays 5, Yankees 3: Rays tee off early on Gerrit Cole

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Also, Tyler Glasnow is really good.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Tyler Glasnow and Gerrit Cole have both had strange starts to the 2020 season.

In 2019, with a 2.50 ERA/2.64 FIP/2.48 xFIP, Cole probably should have taken home the Cy Young award. With a ‘19 line of 1.78/2.26/2.75, Glasnow surely would have been in the conversation had he stayed healthy.

Yet, to this point in ‘20, Glasnow and Cole have pitched to 5.14/3.52/2.75 and 3.51/4.38/3.41 lines, respectively. For both, the bloated ERA’s surely are influenced by the home run bug. Coming into tonight’s matchup, Cole sported a 21.7% HR/FB% to Glasnow’s 22.7%.

In today’s game where home runs are as common as books are in a library, you expect pitchers — yes, even the good ones — to give up their fair share of home runs, but one of five fly balls given up sailing over the wall is less than ideal, even with a higher than normal 15.1% league average HR/FB%.

The good news here for both pitchers and their respective teams is that this number tends to regress back to the league average over a large enough sample. This is the guiding principle of xFIP.

That said, Glasnow’s xFIP mark of 2.75 (exactly what it was when he was elite a year ago), as well as Cole’s mark of 3.41 (good, but not great) may be a better reflections of their respective performances in a small sample.

Everything I have said here was to build up to this:

Gerrit Cole’s regression will have to wait at least one more start.

GOT HEEEEEEM!

It’s funny because... okay let me just get to the recap.

In the first inning, he gave up a two run home run to Ji-Man Choi:

In the second inning, he gave up another to Kevin Kiermaier:

A single in the fourth by Manuel Margot gave the Rays another, chasing Cole after just five innings, forcing 103 pitchers out of the Yankees ace. They added another in the sixth off reliever Nick Nelson when newcomer Randy Arozarena got his first hit, stole his first base, then scored his first run on a Choi single.

Meanwhile, Tyler Glasnow was excellent.

Coming off of back to back strong starts, Glasnow came into tonight’s contest appearing to have turned the corner. Tonight, however, how easily his most impressive start of the year

The Rays right hander made the Bronx Bombers look foolish all night, working a highly efficient six innings of shutout work, striking out eight. Additionally, he entered his final inning with a no hitter.

But once Glasnow exited, the going got a little tougher.

Reliever Edgar Garcia allowed a solo homer to Yankees third baseman Gio Urshella in the seventh followed by a two run homer to designated hitter Luke Voit in the eighth to put them within two.

Luckily, Pete Fairbanks continued his stretch of dominance, coming on for Garcia to pitch a scoreless eighth, with Castillo pitching a scoreless ninth to close it out.

With this victory, the Rays increase their lead in the American League East to four and a half games over the Yankees.