Lost in all of the hitting that the Altoona Curve position players did in Game One of their Tuesday doubleheader, Tyler Glasnow had his fifth post-DL start for the Altoona Curve.
Glasnow ended up going six innings, giving up three earned runs on four walks and ten strikeouts. Ten strikeouts are a season-high for Glasnow, who struck out nine in his previous start in seven innings. Four walks are tied for his season-high as well. Before Tuesday’s game, Glasnow only allowed three walks in his four starts since returning from the disabled list.
Glasnow spoke candidly after the game about feeling uncomfortable in the windup with no runners on, but he was much better from the stretch. His four walks were all leadoff batters, in the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth. A lot of his inconsistencies could be a result of having to wait for long stretches between innings when the Curve were busy putting up crooked numbers on three separate occasions before Glasnow went back out to pitch (four, four, and six runs scored in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th).
“My windup was the worst it’s been in a really long time,” Glasnow said. “I felt good in the stretch, but something about the windup – it was just one of those days. I could not find it at all in the windup; luckily, I felt really good in the stretch. If it wasn’t for those leadoff walks, [things would’ve went better].”
Aside from the erratic fastball command and walks, Glasnow still had dominating stuff. The fastball velocity was pretty much where you would expect it, sitting between 94-98 MPH. More importantly, he threw the curveball seven times early in the count throughout his outing. Not only did he throw the curveball early in the count, he threw it for strikes. The curveball command has drastically improved from only consistently throwing it in the dirt for swings-and-misses to throwing it in the strike zone for calls looking.
After Glasnow’s start on July 10th in Altoona, Pitching Coach Justin Meccage talked a lot about Glasnow needing to be more effective with early count breaking balls.
“The one thing that we can build off of is the early count breaking ball,” Meccage said after Glasnow allowed one hit in six innings on the 10th. “He needs to throw it for a strike.”
Glasnow took that game plan into Tuesday night’s game and executed well with the curveball.
The pitch that Glasnow has yet to develop to it’s full potential is his changeup. He only threw it twice on Tuesday in Altoona, with one being driven for a base hit.
“The changeup needs to continue to be a priority,” Pitching Coach Justin Meccage said. “He only threw two tonight, so we need to continue to work that in a little bit more. It’s just understanding the development of the pitch over the guy not wanting to give it a chance.”
Meccage went on to say that he thinks Glasnow has the feeling he is giving batters a better chance to hit when he throws the changeup. The development of the pitch is probably the most important thing that Glasnow needs to continue to improve at this point in time. Manager Tom Prince, Meccage, and Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington have all talked about the importance of that changeup recently.
“It’s that fine line of competing because you want results, but the development of the pitch for the big leagues is most important,” said Meccage.
“The changeup continues to be a work in progess, which the sooner we can get that locked in, [the better],” said Neal Huntington. “But, he’s still doing Double-A hitters a favor when he throws it, so it’s hard to push him too much on that.”
Even after giving up three earned runs on Tuesday, Glasnow has a 1.95 ERA in five starts since his return to Altoona. He has a 41:7 K/BB ratio, and batters are only hitting .160 against him. Expect him to throw the changeup more often in his next start, as I feel it will be emphasized to him to throw it more by his coaches. They would like to see the changeup around 88 MPH, but slowing it down to 90 MPH would work well coupled with his fastball velocity.
As far as I see, Glasnow’s changeup and the lack of innings pitched this season would be the two things holding him back from a promotion to Triple-A.