Tyler Glasnow and the Importance of Strike One

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates want Tyler Glasnow focusing on strike one.

Glasnow, the team’s promising fifth starter, has yet to consistently deliver with results in his first full season in the majors. He had one of his best starts on Sunday, going 6.1 innings while allowing three earned runs in what became a 6-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The reasoning for wanting Glasnow to start off with a strike makes sense on the surface. They want him to use his two-seam fastball to induce weak contact that will help him get quicker outs and work deeper into games. It took him 101 pitches to go 6.1 Sunday and that was the longest outing he’s had this year.

He’s also had problems with his walk rate. It sits at 6.33 BB/9 after he issued two free passes Sunday and it goes without saying that strike one as opposed to ball one will result in fewer walks.

“[It’s] very important,” Glasnow said. “I think it’s something I’ve focused on. Today it wasn’t that good, but it just sets up your entire at-bat. You can throw your stuff up there. You put hitters on defense mode.”

But will pitching strike one help get batters out? It worked out that way against the Brewers. Of their 27 at-bats, Glasnow threw 12 first-pitch strikes. Nine of them turned into outs.

“That’s not coincidence,” Glasnow said. “Usually when I get ahead of guys, it turns out well.”

But it’s not a panacea for all that ails a pitcher. According to Fangraphs, MLB batters are hitting .223 on 0-1 counts compared to .258 on 1-0 counts. That’s a difference, but not that significant of one. Luckily for Glasnow, it wasn’t the only thing he had working.

He threw 15 changeups, finally using that pitch as a significant part of his arsenal at the major-league level and it played well, going for a strike over half the time and generating a 20 percent whiff rate. He also got put-aways with the curveball after getting hitters in swing mode with his fastball and change up.

“Fastball command was solid,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “His curveball play to use his changeup. He kept mixing his pitches. We had three different defensive plays that allowed more guys to touch the plate than should have based on what he did out there today. So, I’m very encouraged by his outing. It’s great that he pitched into the seventh as well.”

But Glasnow’s own self-assessment wasn’t as rosy.

“I definitely didn’t have my best stuff, but I had to go out and pitch, not try to get too much velo or anything, just locations,” he said. “It was nice. I went out there and felt like I was pitching today.”

Depending on how you want to measure it, that might have been Glasnow’s best career start and it’s certainly in the top two. For him to say he didn’t have his best stuff after striking out nearly a batter per inning should be a very encouraging sign. It’s also a bit of a peek into the mental part of the game, as well.

“I think the number one key [for Glasnow] is mental,” said catcher Chris Stewart, who caught Glasnow on Sunday. “He wants to be perfect out there and unfortunately, it’s not a perfect game. This game can humble you a little bit. It can throw some things you’re not ready for. Then there’s a lot of uncontrollables, as well.”

The uncontrollable on Sunday included an anemic offense that mustered just two runs on six hits and was unable to give Glasnow the kind of run support he’s enjoyed thus far and also a defense that committed two errors and misplayed another ball that directly contributed to two of the four runs Glasnow allowed. He never seemed to let any of those things effect his pitching.

“That’s the game,” he said. “I make mistakes. Everyone does. Errors are errors. We have a great defensive staff. I just think we have to keep going.”


Jose Osuna provided all the offense for the Pirates, hitting a two-run blast to left field for his first major-league home run.

“I hit the ball really good on that one,” Osuna said. “I was waiting for a slow pitch. [Milwaukee starter Zach Davies] was using a lot of changeable and curveballs, so I was looking for something up.”


Josh Lindblom made his Pirates debut, and while he profiles to be a long reliever, he made just one pitch to get the final out of the ninth inning.

“I’m not even sure I have to shower after that,” he joked.

The Pirates haven’t given an update on a timeframe for Jameson Taillon’s injury, but Lindblom figures to be with Pittsburgh long enough to be missed in Indianapolis.

“About 2:45 yesterday, we were in Columbus,” Lindblom said. “[Andy] Barkett called me in. He said there was good news and bad news. The bad news was that I wasn’t going to be able to bring donuts in when were had day games in Indy. The good news was that I was going to be able to come here. I’m really, really excited.”

But his Indy teammates may be left wanting for something sweet.

“There’s a little spot called Titus Bakery right on the way to the field that I’d stop at and bring them in for the guys,” Lindblom said. “They’re devastated. They really are. I don’t think the strength staff was devastated, though.”

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
joe s

Sure things look bad at this point but you have to realize that the teams’s two best hitters are not there and they are still almost at a .500 level. So if everything remains the same maybe they can make a push in July.

I wonder, is Kang’s visa being held up by the US government? If it is, I guess they don’t want him in the country.

Joe Nastasi

Hurdle is a joke, I’ve always said they won despite Hurdle, not because of him. If your going to run a crap lineup out there, you do it in L.A. Milwaukee is a division opponent & ahead of you in standings, L.A. isn’t. You want to give a game away, do it in L.A.
Hanson should’ve been playing 2nd. Gosselin shouldn’t ever see the field. Super glue his ass to the end of the bench until the 16th inning or until they get rid of him.


Can the Pirates please just go to Mercer, Harrison, and Gift as the starting 3 in the IF and Cutch, Polanco, and Osuna in the OF with Hanson as the Utility guy. I can’t stand watching Jaso and Gosselin. Granted Hanson hasn’t been great but he looks ok in the field. At this point I would say ok is an upgrade.


But that 6.1 innings ends Glasnow’s prospect status, right?


I truly fear that this 2017 season is long lost for our Pittsburgh Pirates !!! Despite all the hopes and dreams of Spring (return to health and performance) our two bese offensive players are out for, might as well be, the season (Marte & Kang). McCutchen is done, old at 30 and never to return to his light legged swiftness in the field and at bat. So what’s left besides a potentially great starting pitching staff? Not much, certainly not much on defense matched with a bad baserunning team and a so-so relief corps. Bad days ahead for the Pirates I’m afraid. Forget those halcyon days of 98 wins, pushing the loaded Chicago Cubs at the top!

John W

Fantastic stuff from glasnow today.


I thought he pitched very well and is showing that he can handle the pressure. I liked how he came back after that misplay by Jaso allowed the first run in the 3rd inning. The Brewers have some swingers and he did very well against them.

dr dng

Can anyone remember a lineup in the past 25 years
offensively and defensive as weak as the team we put
out there to back up Glasnow today?

Scott K

Lineup had 4 of 8 position players with negative WAR, including those batting leadoff and 2nd.


I feel a common theme amongst these comments. 🙂


Why is hurdle so in love with jaso?


I was listening on the radio in my car and there was a ball hit. Can’t remember who hit it but it drove in the first Milwaukee run. Block just said calmly fly ball to left then as if sighing he said “aaaaaand Jaso misplays it.” All I could think is well he isn’t an outfielder hopefully we figure this out soon.

dr dng

and a couple of others.

Marty W

It’s a man crush!

Dale O

I feel like Clint is just trolling people with the lineup he put together today…

Jaso leading off, Gosselin starting at second – just stop, Clint.

If Jaso is going to be on the team, his role should be 24th man, ahead of only the backup catcher. Gosselin shouldn’t be on the team – certainly not starting. What’s the point of Diaz? Cervelli played and played well I thought for a few days so clearly he’s healthy (enough). I understand McCutchen getting a day off – he stinks right now – but Harrison? Really?

I swear, we’re being trolled.


Jaso is a guy who has no reason to still be on the team except that we owe him $4 mil for 2017. Gosselin was a useless and stupid trade from Day One. He should be sent down ASAP and a RP added as the Pirates are midway through a 17 games in 17 day stretch, and then after one day off, they have 16 games in 16 days. A stretch of 33 games in 34 days will wear out the BP.


Just like in Star Trek where they had their Dunsel, we have our Gosselin. Definition: A player that serves no useful purpose.


I was surprised that lineup even scored two runs.

Bad defense and bad offense is usually a recipe for a loss.

And, why didn’t Lindstrom start the 9th?

Oh well…..it is not looking good for 2017.


The positive side of this is almost every team except Colorado (and maybe the Nats) in the NL is thinking the same way right now I would think. It is sad the Pirates have been this bad and they aren’t out of it by any means.


This is exactly how I feel about it, when people on the radio and/or the internet suggest Clint Hurdle should be fired. This team is competitive- which is almost miraculous. They are missing (arguably) their top four offensive players, have Cutch continuing his slide, and have numerous guys playing out of position (Please don’t put Jaso in right field again). On the positive side of things, they have the second lowest team era (I know, not the only measure by any means) in the NL (at least, going into yesterday), and have a lot of room to improve. I think Cutch will start hitting a little better, Polanco is showing signs of heating up, and some of the guys on the DL will return at some point. As bad as this team is (They are painful to watch sometimes), they might be able to legitimately compete for a second wildcard


Good point. Very surprised at the lineup since the game meant a sweep which would have put the Pirates only a game under .500. And, with one of the guys we see as our future as a SP going to the mound, a little more defense could have been appreciated.

I have not given up on 2017, but I do think it has gotten away from Hurdle.
His post-game yesterday was antagonistic and unprofessional at best. He is not the right person to direct a team that has to more willingly embrace youth. How long do the Pirates wait? Joey Cora is here for a reason.

Bill Harvey

Hurdle does not care about sweeping a series. He never has. The only thing he wants to do is win the series. If the Pirates win the first 2 games, he has historically used his weakest players in the last game.

He has never really embraced youth, unless it is a top prospect, and even then not always.

As for Joey Cora, isn’t he our base running coach? That should be all you need to know about him.

michael schalke

That’s a dumb comment about Cora. He is a coach and can’t run the bases for them. We just have a lot of guys with bad instincts on this team.

Bill Harvey

It is not a dumb comment. The guy that was in charge of base running last year was bad and got fired. They are worse base runners this year and Cora is the coach in charge of that. Bad instincts is one thing, the skill displayed this year is stuff kids are taught in HS.

michael t

Exactly….time and time again Hurdle rests his starters and calls it a scheduled day off after winning the series. He put a bad team out there behind Glasnow and it cost the team the chance to win.

Pirates Prospects Daily



Latest articles

Latest comments