The Tampa Bay Rays have been anticipating the return of Tyler Glasnow for quite some time, and the wait is about to come to an end in Cleveland.
The former Rays ace will make his first major league start in over 15 months when Tampa Bay tries to win a three-game series against the American LeagueCentral champion Guardians on Wednesday night.
With their bats quiet for nine innings' worth of batters, the Rays (85-69) got a two-out, two-run double from Harold Ramirez in the 11th inning on Tuesday to pull off a 6-5 win.
Cleveland (86-68) scored once in the bottom half but had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
The Rays moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Toronto Blue Jays, who hold the No. 1 wild-card spot in the AL.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer, Glasnow -- whose last start was June 14, 2021, in Chicago against the White Sox -- has rehabbed his way back into the rotation, even if only for a 45-pitch stint.
Obviously excited to get the giant right-hander back on the mound, Rays manager Kevin Cash said a strong few innings from Glasnow could be a major boost.
"Two innings of Glasnow is still a huge plus for our team," Cash said. "Like to get three innings. If we do, great. If we don't, that's fine, too."
The Newhall, Calif., native said his right elbow now feels better before and after pitching, something he hadn't experienced in the past.
"Compared to the past three years, it feels way better as far as post-day and the week leading into starts and stuff," Glasnow said. "It's good to have a UCL, you know."
Glasnow, 29, signed a two-year, $30.35 million contract in August -- a move that will delay his free agency by one year.
Though he has nothing to show for his two career starts against Cleveland other than an 0-2 record, the 6-foot-8 Glasnow has pitched well. In 14 innings against the Guardians, he has posted a 1.93 ERA by allowing three runs (all solo homers) on eight hits, with nine strikeouts and one walk.
Cleveland's starter Wednesday, Triston McKenzie, 25, truly embodies who the Guardians are as a team.
Cleveland's payroll ranks 28th in baseball, while it also possesses the youngest club, with an average age of just over 26 years old.
McKenzie (11-11, 3.04 ERA) will be making his second career start against the Rays, whom he faced July 25, 2021, in a 3-2 win in Cleveland. During that start opposite Ryan Yarbrough, McKenzie received no decision in a six-inning outing.
The right-handed McKenzie yielded two runs and five hits while fanning six and walking one.
And if he runs into trouble against on Wednesday, he'll have a pretty stellar bullpen backing him up.
The Guardians' relief corps -- five innings, one hit, two runs (one earned) and seven strikeouts -- was excellent on Tuesday night. Enyel De Los Santos fired an immaculate inning in the seventh.
"It was fun to watch him get that excited," manager Terry Francona said. "He doesn't usually show too much emotion. He was kind of fired up."
--Field Level Media