If you like your baseball dominated by pitchers who are as crafty as they are high velocity then this was the game for you.
First, let’s talk about the Rays offense. Here it is:
Austin Meadows lost 20 pounds in the off season, as @TriciaWhitaker reports.— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 1, 2021
Watch the @RaysBaseball on Bally Sports Sun & stream it here: https://t.co/6wqurMgT2z #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/sRMXs0i6rU
And in case you are wondering, this dinger was not a cheapie:
Austin Meadows 419-ft home run szn pic.twitter.com/cFyBfFZUGU— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 1, 2021
I’m kidding just a bit. The Rays had 4 other hits (one, a Lowe double, for extra bases). They also drew three walks and one hit-by-pitch. They had two based loaded scoring opportunities. In the first inning, they stranded runners when both Kiermaier and Adames struck out. In the ninth, Manuel Margot worked a very good at bat, but it ended with a hard hit ball to the third baseman for the force play.
But their pitching was amazing. Miami was pretty much shut down for nine innings.
Let’s start with Tyler Glasnow.
Glasnow’s line: 6 innings, one hit (more on that later), no walks (!!!) and six strikeouts. 57 of his 76 pitches were thrown for strikes. His fastball sat at 98 mph but what to me was most impressive was how well he commanded and deployed his breaking stuff, both the always effective curve and the newly developed slider.
Tyler Glasnow, Painting with pic.twitter.com/zgp7bDSsoO— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 1, 2021
Sometimes you see a pitcher work and you know he is in total command. Granted the Marlins don’t have the world’s most threatening lineup, but the way Glasnow mixed his pitches and threw them effectively would have challenged any lineup.
That hit was a first inning Jesus Aguilar grounder to third that Yandy Diaz momentarily bobbled. Remembering Aguilar as a slow guy I still though Diaz’s throw would get him but he was safe, and Diaz was not given an error. So yeah, Glasnow gave up “one hit.”
We all know that Cash would have pulled Glasnow well short of a complete game regardless of his hit total, so aren’t we sort of glad that Aguilar had reached base in the first? Having Opening Day be all about how Cash pulled a pitcher who had been perfect through six would have been annoying.
Ryan Thompson, Pete Fairbanks and Diego Castillo took over from there, with Fairbanks perhaps the weakest link (he allowed a walk and a hit) and Castillo, with two strikeouts, looking like our lights out Nick Anderson replacement.
Great way to start the season, although I wouldn’t mind a couple more runs here and there.