PITTSBURGH — After Tyler Glasnow’s appearance in the Pirates’ 12-7 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday, he looked like a man who wasn’t sure where to turn next.
Glasnow had given up seven runs on 10 hits, including a ridiculous 449-foot home run by Giancarlo Stanton. He exited the game after the fourth inning with just one strike out, he never had a clean inning, and he never seemed to be able to do much more than find a lot of bat barrels.
Glasnow said after the game that he though the big issue was that his two-seam fastball was running back across the plate and into some barrels that he might otherwise miss.
“The two-seam was running in on barrels. I just have to fix it,” he said. “I think I need to keep on with the four-seam and that straight, truer life. I was pretty two-seam heavy today. I’ve just got to keep working on it.”
Catcher Jacob Stallings said that as the start went on, he tried to transition into some more four-seamers but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Glasnow threw them in almost equal proportions, with 26 two-seamers and 22 four-seamers. That’s a lot more two-seamers than he’s used most of this season.
But on the whole, it hasn’t really mattered that much. This year, his four-seamer has a 1.061 OPS against. His two-seamer has a 1.085 OPS. For good measure, his changeup has a 1.200 OPS against. Only his curveball (.633) has been an above-average offering.
Simply put, it doesn’t seem to matter which fastball Glasnow throws. He’s just not getting enough hitters out. Whether it’s a lack of deception, predictability or lack of movement, for some reason, Glasnow’s pitches have stopped getting swings and misses.
“There were no walks, which is a good thing,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “One strikeout. Not a lot of swings and misses. Not a lot of deception or late life. A lack of movement.”
Even during his troubling first year, Glasnow’s fastball (he threw almost all four-seamers then) got swinging strikes over 10 percent of the time. This year, his four-seamer is down to 4.8 percent and the two-seamer is at 3.4 percent.
Glasnow made some changes to his delivery this spring in order to get to the plate more quickly and cut down on his stolen bases. There could be something there that’s caused him to lose some of the stuff of his fastball.
But it doesn’t sound as if Glasnow has any quick answers, and with a 7.45 ERA and Jameson Taillon’s return nearing, it seems very likely that he’ll be finding those solutions in Indianapolis.
STALLINGS CHIPS IN
Stallings is a catcher that has derived a lot of his value in his career from his defense. But he’s hit the ball better for much of this season. After posting a career-low .602 OPS with Triple-A Indianapolis in 2016, he had a .687 mark when he was called up this season. That carried over into the majors on Friday, as he had two hits including a double to go 2-for-5. But even though his offense has improved, the reason Stallings is in the majors is his defense, and he wasn’t pleased about the 12 runs allowed or the throwing error he picked up in the fourth inning.
“Honestly, I was happier with last night’s game when I went 0 for 2 but threw up some zeroes for everybody,” he said. “I feel like I’ve grown offensively, but I’d like to put up a few more zeroes catching.”
INNING THE SAME, ROLE DIFFERENT
Tony Watson pitched the ninth inning, but it was far from a save situation. The Pirates were trailing, 12-5 when he entered. Watson threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a fly out and two ground outs. Hurdle was impressed with the way the changeup looked, particularly against righties Christian Colon and A.J. Ellis. They both hit the pitch weakly for outs.
“I saw good glove-side command with the fastball,” Hurdle said. “All three outs came off change-ups. It’s a different read. … He wanted the inning. He got the inning. I thought he was crisp.”
Gregory Polanco went 0 for 4 with a walk and strikeout. He’s now 0 for his last 8 and 4-for-27 (.148) in the month of June. … Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 3 with two walks, but grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the only plate appearance in which he failed to reach base. … Jose Osuna doubled and scored as a pinch hitter in the fourth. It was his first career extra-base pinch hit.