Rays broadcaster Brian Anderson, a former major league pitcher himself, said it right: It’s not that Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow caught a chest-high line drive off the bat of the Angels’ David Fletcher. It’s that Fletcher hit the pitch into Glasnow’s glove.
Glasnow didn’t appear to try to catch the ball. He just happened to catch it as — understandably — he turned away from the liner, which traveled at 95.6 mph exit velocity off the bat. It wasn’t even one of the 15 hardest-hit balls of the game, thank goodness. Any harder and who knows?
MLB’s tracking system, Statcast, estimated the ball would have gone 121 feet if no human got in the way. That’s twice as far as the mound distance, so, yeah, it was hit hard enough
It was the defensive play of the night for the Rays in their 7-3 victory at Angel Stadium. Glasnow got the win, allowing three runs, four hits and four walks to go with eight strikeouts over six innings. He allowed two homers; Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon took him deep.
And he made the catch.
The Rays had taken a three-run lead in the top of the third, but the Angels started a rally in the bottom half on Kurt Suzuki’s line-drive double. Fletcher followed and pounced on a Glasnow mistake, an 88.7 mph high slider that got launched right back toward the mound.
Holy smokes! The crowd oohed and ahhed but Glasnow was OK. Glasnow grinned slightly, shook his head, then grabbed it with both hands to collect himself.
Yep. Head still attached. Glasnow reached at least 100 mph five times, and at least 99 mph 11 more times with his fastball, but those typically went over the plate. It’s different when they’re coming right at you.
Glasnow’s grab made up for an awkward moment in the second when he forgot how many strikes it takes to strike somebody out. The answer, time immemorial, is three.
Whoopie doopie! All right, Tyler, give us your best Cillian Murphy:
Better than Blue Steel.