ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tyler Glasnow figures to be a factor as the Tampa Bay Rays make their playoff push
Glasnow struck out five over two innings in his return from a four-month layoff caused by a strained right forearm, and the Rays beat Toronto 8-3 Sunday to complete a four-game sweep that left the Blue Jays as the fifth major league team on pace to lose 100 games.
“Honestly I feel very similar to how I felt before I got hurt,” Glasnow said. “I think I’ll stretch out like a starter and then just build back up to the playoffs.”
Glasnow struck out Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez and Rowdy Tellez in order on 12 pitches in the first, twice reaching 100 mph. He walked Vladimir Guerrero leading off the second and gave up a two-run homer to Randal Grichuk, a 451-foot drive to center that put Toronto ahead 2-1.
“It’s really a step in the right direction,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
A 26-year-old right-hander, Glasnow threw 25 of 41 pitches for strikes, allowing the one hit and two walks. He had not pitched in the major leagues since May 10 and was 6-1 in eight starts with an AL-leading 1.86 ERA when he went on the injured list. Glasnow made a pair of minor league injury rehabilitation assignments for Triple-A Durham.
“Being able to sit back and watch, it was stressful for me not being there and just watching them do so well,” Glasnow said. “Now that I’m back and being able to contribute, it’s a little better feeling.”
Austin Meadows and Avisail Garcia homered for the Rays, who remained one game ahead of Oakland for the top AL wild card. Tampa Bay, which has won 10 of 11, outscored Toronto 24-10 in the series.
Despite being in contention for a postseason berth, the Rays drew just 14,071 to Tropicana Field for the finale of their next-to-last homestand.
Toronto has lost seven straight, its longest skid since April 2017, and 16 of its last 19. At 55-89, the Blue Jays are on pace to lose 100 games for the first time since 1977-79, their first three seasons. Detroit, Baltimore, Miami and Kansas City also are on pace to lose 100 games. The most teams to finish with 100 losses was four in 2002.
Trevor Richards (5-12) allowed one hit in 2 2/3 innings scoreless innings.
Jacob Waguespack (4-4) gave up six runs in seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“You want to go out and give your team a chance to win, and it’s frustrating how we haven’t been able to string one together here,” Waguespack said. “I tried to go out and give us a spark today and wasn’t able to do it.”
Daniel Robertson put the Rays ahead to stay with a two-run triple in the second, and Tampa Bay opened a 6-2 lead in the fifth when Garcia and Travis d’Arnaud hit RBI doubles and around Ji-Man Choi’s sacrifice fly. Garcia added a two-run homer in the seventh against Sam Gaviglio, a 456-foot drive.
Meadows homered in the fifth, his 28th this season and seventh off Toronto.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier left in the fifth inning because of neck spasms. … LHP Blake Snell (elbow) threw 24 pitches Saturday in his first rehab start for Durham. He last pitched for the Rays on July 21. … INF Eric Sogard (sore foot) missed his second straight game.
Blue Jays: RHP T.J. Zeuch gets his first major league start Tuesday night against the Boston Red Sox in Toronto. The 24-year-old right-hander made his big league debut with he allowed two runs over four innings of relief in a 7-2 loss at Atlanta.
Rays: LHP Ryan Yarbrough (11-3) is to start Tuesday night at Texas in the opener of an eight-game trip.
We know the Orioles and Blue Jays noticed how hot Rays outfielder Austin Meadows has been recently, and so did the folks in charge of picking the AL Player of the Week as Meadows was honored for the second time this season.
His credentials were rather impressive, hitting .522 over seven games with nine runs scored, 12 hits including two doubles and four homers, eight RBIs, 26 total bases and a 1.130 OPS. He had a hit in every game, and is on an eight-game streak overall.
Meadows leads the team with 28 homers and 78 RBIs despite missing three weeks with a thumb injury.
He also was chosen the AL’s best in April, making him the third Rays player to be honored twice in the same season. James Shields was a two-time winner in 2011, and Evan Longoria won three times in 2009.
Meadows, 24, was acquired with pitcher Tyler Glasnow and prospect Shane Baz from Pittsburgh in July 2018 for pitcher Chris Archer.