Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

For Curve's Glasnow, change is good

With third pitch dealing, Pirates top prospect fans season-high 12
July 26, 2015

Tyler Glasnow's changeup was one of the final pieces he needed to fall into place. On Sunday, he provided a look at just how impressive his puzzle can be.

With his third pitch working, the Pirates' top prospect recorded a season-high 12 strikeouts over six innings, but Double-A Altoona dropped a 2-0 decision on Sunday at Altoona.

"He was in the strike zone with all three pitches. Today was probably the best his changeup has been in two seasons. He threw 10 of them and eight out of 10 were really effective," Curve pitching coach Justin Meccage, who also worked with Glasnow last season in the Florida State League. "He got some swings on them and he got a ground ball or two on them. And then just the ability to put people away was pretty good, too. So, overall, it was a really good outing."

Glasnow (5-3) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks and was denied a fourth straight win. In the first, he gave up a two-out single to Yandy Diaz that he deflected, then made an errant pickoff attempt that put a runner in scoring position.'s No. 9 overall prospect and did not yield another hit until the fourth.

"I think just sticking to his strengths at that point and sticking to his routine, pre-pitch routine, and taking it one batter at a time [helped him find a groove]. And that's the way he always goes about his business," Meccage said. "I think he knows that he always has the ability to strike people out, so that eases the mind in terms of baserunners and things like that. It was pretty impressive."

In the fourth, Glasnow allowed a two-out double to Anthony Gallas, who tried to score on a base hit by Indians No. 23 prospect Carlos Moncrief but was nailed at the plate by center fielder Adam Frazier.

"I think anytime you have a special play like that, it gets the energy going a little bit," Meccage said. "He left a pitch over the plate and he paid for it and Frazier picked him up. As a pitcher, those are the types of things that you appreciate, so I think he was really excited about it."

Glasnow was not as fortunate in the fifth. After Ronny Rodriguez led off with a single, Alex Lavisky sent an 0-2 offering over the left-center field for his second homer of the season and first for the RubberDucks.

"Anytime someone hits a home run off him, you got to tip your cap a little, but he fell behind, 2-0," Meccage said. "Obviously, in that situation with the nine-hole hitter, you're probably not going to mess around too much with him, and he elevated a fastball. ... That's about the only mistake he made all day."

The 21-year-old right-hander recovered, notching strikeouts for each of his final five outs and holding rehabbing Indians outfielder Nick Swisher hitless in three at-bats.

"His fastball and his curveball are two special pitches, and then you throw a changeup in the mix, it kind of leads guys at the plate to wonder what's coming next," Meccage said. "I think he had all three going, so that put him in position to strike people out. He struck guys out with his curveball and his fastball, but the changeup set the tone for some of those strikeouts."

Since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him a month, Glasnow has steadily returned to form. In his last four starts, he's held Eastern League foes to five runs on 13 hits over 25 innings.

"I think he's getting into a good routine, he's figuring out what works for him, get himself ready physically, pre-start and mentally, during the start," his pitching coach said. "I think the mindset [facing] each hitter has been consistent and the pitch quality has been real consistent to go along with it. So I'm looking forward to his next one to see if he can continue to be consistent."

Lavisky's homer helped Akron starter Shawn Morimando improve to 7-10. Cleveland's 19th-ranked prospect struck out seven and walked one over six five-hit frames. Jeff Johnson worked around a walk in the ninth for his 17th save.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan.