Today was ring day for the Tampa Bay Rays as the team was presented with their 2020 American League Champion rings. The rings are the final component to celebrating the accomplishments from last season and how close they came to the ultimate goal, winning the World Series. As the team works towards repeating as the AL Pennant winners, they face their next challenge with a four-game series against the Texas Rangers under the catwalks of Tropicana Field.
Tyler Glasnow got the start for the Rays and came into the game unbeaten in his last 10 regular-season starts, going 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA and 87 strikeouts.
Glasnow got off to a great start retiring the first three Rangers batters in order. He started serving strikeouts by throwing five straight fastballs. He mixed it up to get David Dahl throwing sliders, fastballs and ultimately catching him swinging on a curveball. To close out the top of the inning he went with just curveballs and sliders to get Joey Gallo. It was an impressive pitching performance to start the game off.
Dane Dunning is making his second start of the season and the eighth of his career. He came into the game with a career 3-0 record after winning in his Texas Rangers debut last week against the Toronto Blue Jays. He retired his first batter by striking out Yoshi Tsutsugo to start his outing. Austin Meadows gave the Rays their first baserunner with a well-struck double (98.2 EV, .490 xBA). Dunning threw four straight balls, all sinkers, to Randy Arozarena to allow his first walk of the season. Dunning usually throws his sinker 39.4% of the time but was almost exclusively using it on 12 of his first 14 pitches.
Things got a little scary when a Brandon Lowe high pop-up just past the shortstop was being converged on by three Rangers defenders. Ronald Guzman injured his leg while attempting to avoid a collision and would be carted off the field.
Eli White came into replace Guzman, leaving the Rangers with only two bench players remaining for the game.
The very eventful first inning closed with a Margot groundout to third.
Glasnow continued to deal in the second inning retiring the side once again. This time he got some assistance from Brett Phillips diving grab that had a 10% catch probability according to Statcast. Tyler Glasnow, and Rays fans everywhere, approved of the highlight-reel grab.
Tyler Glasnow's reaction says it all! Brett Phillips with a heck-of-a-catch in the 2nd!— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 12, 2021
Watch the @RaysBaseball vs. Rangers on Bally Sports Sun & stream it here: https://t.co/U7rTBvAYj2 #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/X6h9sHupkg
Coming off his defensive highlight, Phillips came up with a double in the bottom of the inning with two outs. Willy Adames struck out looking to end the inning to waste the runner in scoring position and leave the game scoreless heading into the third.
Glasnow continued absolutely owning the Rangers hitters. Three more come up and all three go down. Unfortunately the Rays offense is equally ineffective and the game is still scoreless after three innings.
Joey Gallo draws a two-out walk to give the Rangers their first baserunner of the night at the beginning of the fourth inning. Glasnow makes light work of the remaining hitters to finish the inning with no hits and no walks through four.
In the bottom of the fourth inning Manuel Margot gets on base with a walk and moves over to second after a Dunning wild pitch. Once again, the Rays close out an inning with a runner on second making without advancing any further.
Dunning’s impressive day ends with four innings pitched only allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five.
Eli White, in as a replacement to Guzman, gets the first hit on a Glasnow slider at the top of the fifth inning. White came into the game as the only Rangers player caught stealing. He must really like that honor as he gets caught stealing for a second time in this young season to end the top of the fifth.
Taylor Hearn came in for Dunning and walked Brett Phillips on four pitches. Phillips followed up the hit by stealing second to give the Rays a runner in scoring position with two outs, again. The Rays continue their social distancing of baserunners from third base and beyond as the inning ends on a Randy Arozarena strikeout and they strand their fourth baserunner and are 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position through five.
Glasnow would return in the sixth and only need 10 pitches to get Anderson Tejeda, Leody Taveras and Isiah Kiner-Falefa all to strike out swinging. The equipment manager is going to have to patch the holes in their bats.
After six innings the game somehow remained scoreless.
The most interesting part of the seventh for the Rangers hitters was Nate Lowe with an broken bat which is illustrative of his recent at-bats. Lowe would eventually become Glasnow’s 13th strikeout through seven.
You have to score at least one run to win a game. Willy Adames put his retooled swing on full display with a home run (exit velocity 99.9, 376 feet) to left to finally put some runs on the board in this game that has been dominated by pitching so far.
The Rays took a 1-0 lead at the end of seven in a game where runs are harder to come by than toilet paper was in March 2020.
Willy Adames - Tampa Bay Rays (2) pic.twitter.com/2PvSmUmtOu— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) April 13, 2021
After giving up a single and getting two outs, Glasnow is pulled from the game after a passionate exchange with Kevin Cash. He finished with 7.2 innings allowing only two hits, one walk and 14 strikeouts. He also set a new career high with 27 swings and misses from his pitches tonight.
Cody Reed threw two pitches to closeout the inning and take the Rays into the ninth with a 1-0 lead.
Tyler Glasnow had a career high 27 swing and misses tonight... His previous career high was 24 on 8/25/2020 pic.twitter.com/v1jPSQc34r— Daren Willman (@darenw) April 13, 2021
If you could script this game it would all come down to former Rays player Nate Lowe in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two runners on board. Nate started the day getting his ring as a member of the 2020 Rays teams and ended it getting rung up by Diego Castillo to end the game.
Rays win 1-0.
Star of the game, Tyler Glasnow balanced his competitive desire to remain in the game and respect for manager Kevin Cash in his postgame comments.
This was such a treat to watch. Thanks to Tyler for joining me after the game.— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) April 13, 2021
"I did not want to come out of the game. I asked Kevin Cash if this was his final answer...As the convo went on I was like, nah I'm not gonna do this. I have the utmost respect for Cash. " https://t.co/SbTq41qVoG
These two teams are back at it tomorrow night at 7:10 pm for the second game of this series as the Rays look to at least split the series.