Rays’ Tyler Glasnow loses command, control down the stretch

Notes | The right-hander loses a one-run lead in Toronto’s four-run sixth inning. Plus, Zack Littell is auditioning for a spot in the playoff rotation.
Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow reacts after he walks Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk, allowing Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette to score during the sixth inning Friday night at Tropicana Field.
Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow reacts after he walks Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk, allowing Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette to score during the sixth inning Friday night at Tropicana Field. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Sept. 23|Updated Sept. 23

ST. PETERSBURG — Tyler Glasnow could not stretch it out.

The Rays right-hander was cruising through the first five innings Friday night at Tropicana Field, but he lost his command and control of the game in the sixth.

After allowing a single to George Springer and an RBI base hit to Bo Bichette, Glasnow walked Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Alejandro Kirk in succession, forcing in another run. Though he was relieved by Kevin Kelly —who hit Matt Chapman, allowing another run to score, and yielded an RBI single to Daulton Varsho — Glasnow was charged with all four runs in the inning, as the Blue Jays took control on their way to a 6-2 win.

“I just kind of lost it that inning,” Glasnow said. “I think just out of the stretch felt a little weird. Everything kept missing arm-side, and I wasn’t able to get anything into the zone.

“But it felt good before, and then that inning just kind of ran away from me.”

After allowing three or more earned runs in just four of his first 13 starts this season, Glasnow has done so five times in his last seven. That includes his last two starts, over which he has yielded a combined 10 runs.

Something to prove

Every day Zack Littell takes the mound, he is trying to prove himself. In his six years in the big leagues, the right-hander has bounced around to different teams and served in different roles.

“I’ve never really had the luxury of necessarily having a whole lot of job security, having bounced around as I have,” Littell said before Friday’s game. “So yeah, I mean, I’ve always kind of been in the boat of every outing I go out there, i’s kind of an audition.”

Littell may have found his spot with the Rays and should have a place when they start the playoffs. Saturday, the 27-year-old will make his 14th start of the season and 19th appearance. As a starter, he has a 3.70 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 65-2/3 innings.

The Rays likely would need just a three-man rotation for the wild-card round or even the division series. Littell is making a strong case to be the third starter behind Glasnow and Zach Eflin.

“I guess a lot of it depends on what playoff we’re in, whether we’re in the wild card or in the (division series),” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ve got some work to do to get to the DS, but we’re going to have some lengthy conversations. I mean, the way he’s performed has really helped us get to this point. So, it’ll be many conversations when we get closer to that point.”

The Rays’ biggest trade-deadline acquisition, Aaron Civale, would be in those conversations as well. He has a 5.36 ERA in nine starts since coming over from Cleveland.

Raley to the injured list

Outfielder/first baseman Luke Raley is likely out for the rest of the regular season. The slugger had a shot in his neck and was placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to Thursday) before Friday’s game.

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“He got an injection (Friday) into the nerve area. Hopefully, that kind of subsides some pain,” Cash said. “It’ll go right down to the wire. So, I don’t know when he’ll be ready. I know he’s shut down for three days of not doing anything.”

Raley has been dealing with neck soreness since a freak accident during batting practice before Saturday’s game in Baltimore. He tried pinch-hitting on Wednesday but said afterward that his left arm felt numb and lacked strength.


The Rays celebrated Roberto Clemente Day on Friday, honoring Shane McClanahan, their nominee for the Clemente Award, before the game. … Tampa Bay also honored its top minor league players, including Carson Williams as defensive player of the year and Xavier Isaac, the Class A Charleston MVP. Other winners included Junior Caminero (player of the year), RHP Yoniel Curet (pitcher of the year), Alex Cook (relief pitcher of the year), Chandler Simpson (baserunner of the year) and Gionti Turner (Erik Walker Community Champion).

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