Francisco Cervelli talked to him. Ray Searage talked to him. In a rare mound visit, even Clint Hurdle talked to him. And, finally, Tyler Glasnow did a lot of talking to himself during his excoriating 64 pitch, 1.2 inning outing. In the end, none of it helped. The right-hander continued to spray the ball, the Reds ran wild on the bases and the night quickly slipped away in a 7-1 loss.
Entering the season, the two major question marks about Glasnow's game were his pitch efficiency and ability to control baserunners. After allowing five walks (four of them consecutively in the first) and four stolen bases, those questions intensify.
"There is work to be done," Hurdle said. "He tried to counterpunch, but it was a hard night."
The first two innings were tough to watch, and many in the crowd starting losing their patience midway through the first inning. But when Hurdle came to get the ball and Glasnow started walking slowly back to the dugout, the fans in PNC Park gave him a round of supportive applause. The reaction in the park provided a soft landing to what was otherwise a terribly discouraging season debut for the Pirates promising right-hander.
One of the Pirates' organizational philosophies is that they want to see their top prospects face adversity while in the minors. Failing, and learning how to rebound from failure, they believe, is important to a player's development. It is part of the reason why they've been patient with bringing guys up to majors in the past. However, Glasnow rarely failed in the minors. His command and controlling the running game issues never dinged his ERA because his stuff otherwise overwhelmed minor league hitters.
On his Sunday radio show, Neal Huntington said that one of the reasons Glasnow won the fifth spot in the rotation out of spring training was that he had outgrown Triple-A. The organization feels that the next stage in his development should occur in the majors. Now, right out of the box, their top prospect is dealing with a good dose of adversity and it's coming precisely from the areas of known weakness. It'll be interesting to see how he responds over his next two or three outings. For his part, Glasnow is ready to forget this one.
"Just throw [this one] away, move on and get ready to pitch in five days," Glasnow said. "It think a lot of it was when I try to do a little too much I get a little long and try to throw too hard. At least now I can identify it and work on it and get back in and know what I can do next start."
Hurdle made a rare mound visit in the second. It was short and ended with a encouraging fist pat to the chest.
"I just needed to speak to him," Hurdle said. "We just needed to have a chat [about] what we're looking for. Short and sweet."
Pinch hit or not
Wade LeBlanc replaced Glasnow in the top of the second and gave the Pirates a solid 5.1 innings of relief. Those innings will pay dividends in the week ahead.
However, Hurdle was faced with a bit of a difficult decision in the third when LeBlanc came to bat with the bases loaded, two outs, one run in and the score 5-1. A single gets the Pirates back in the game, but forces them to chew through their taxed bullpen the rest of the way. Hurdle let LeBlanc bat.
"No [doubts] whatsoever, based on who we had available" Hurdle said. "[Felipe] Rivero is down. [Juan] Nicasio is done. [Trevor] Williams threw two innings yesterday. If Williams throws today, then you're down two more days. Then you're down and moving personal around. So, we did the best with what we had and LeBlanc, that was throwing aces out there today."