Tampa Bay Rays right-handed starter Tyler Glasnow didn’t pitch deep into Thursday’s ALDS Game 5 against the Houston Astros. He departed in the third inning having permitted four runs on five hits and no walks, and — more notably — having spurred some pitch-tipping accusations from a few former big-league hitters.
Kevin Frandsen and Trevor Plouffe were among those who alleged Glasnow was tipping pitches. Plouffe even suggested he had all of Glasnow’s pitches after seeing him in spring training, later noting that pitchers with unconventional hand movements were more prone to tipping. Glasnow appears to feature more pre-pitch hand action when throwing his curveball, perhaps as a result of changing from a fastball to a breaking ball grip. The Astros whiffed just one time against his 14 breaking pitches Thursday night.
Rays manager Kevin Cash discussed the murmurs after the game:
Glasnow, for his part, acknowledged that he was tipping his pitches:
It didn’t appear to make a difference during the regular season. Glasnow was limited to 12 starts due to injury, but compiled a 1.78 ERA in 60 innings. Of course, the postseason is a different beast, since teams are more focused on their opponents and are more likely to notice or capitalize on any apparent edge.
The Astros have a reputation for being good at noticing these things.
It was Houston that discovered a tell in Yu Darvish’s delivery during the 2017 World Series. At the time, the assumption was that Carlos Beltran — who just this season advised James Paxton that he was tipping — was behind the revelation. It’s worth noting for posterity’s sake, however, that last postseason Cleveland was said to have warned the Boston Red Sox about the Astros potentially recording their dugout, according to a report from Jeff Passan, who is now with ESPN.
Thursday was Glasnow’s second start against the Astros this series. In Game 1, he held the Astros to four hits and two runs over four-plus innings. The runs scored on a Jose Altuve home run.
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