After clinching the NL East on Saturday night, it’ll be a quick turnaround for the Washington Nationals who face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon to determine who wins this late-season series.
Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 4.11 ERA) will start today’s game for the Pirates as Steven Brault, who was scheduled to toe the rubber, will have his turn in the rotation skipped. Brault will be available as a bullpen option, but manager Clint Hurdle wanted to give Glasnow another chance to start before season’s end.
Glasnow has started twice this season in a Pirates uniform, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in a competitive outing and getting a no-decision against the Philadelphia Phillies in a three-inning outing that ended in a right shoulder discomfort injury.
It was clear during these two starts that Glasnow hadn’t pitched from the stretch much, and the Phillies, in particular, made him pay for that with five stolen bases.
“We still have had short looks,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “The game in St. Louis was a competitive game, and the game against Philadelphia was a tough one to read based on what he was dealing with. He seems to be from the short looks we’ve had here, in a good place. … We’ll have another opportunity to see what he does tomorrow.”
While some may view making a major league roster as an incredible feat, Glasnow has been disappointed with this season, calling it “a down year.” He’s made three relief appearances since he was recalled by the Pirates on September 6 and allowed two runs in seven innings.
“This September I’ve experienced the longevity of a season and figuring out how to face hitters,” Glasnow said. “Coming up here and not being as good as I can be is frustrating.”
Jose Fernandez’s passing shakes both teams
The baseball world was shaken Sunday morning with the passing of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez. He was just 24.
Players from both clubhouses were frantically checking their phones and watching the TV as information came in about his passing.
Pitcher Wade LeBlanc spent two months with Fernandez and the Marlins and was there when the young pitcher made his debut.
LeBlanc was clearly still processing the news when he spoke.
“To be honest with you, right when he threw his first pitch in Miami, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball,” he said. “Just the fact that he was able to maintain that kind of level of consistency and performance is incredible, you don’t see it very often. You don’t see guys that don’t slump either right when they get here or make some sort of adjustment. He made his own adjustments and kept rolling, it was incredible.”
Zach Phillips, who played with the Marlins in 2013 and pitched three games, was also reeling from the news.
“I was just in shock,” Phillips said. “For some reason, I didn’t think it was real. You don’t expect to look up and see something like that happen. I just wish the best for his family. It sucks. I played with him in Miami a little bit there, and he was awesome. He would always talk, always say hello. He was inviting to everyone. Just a young kid looking to have fun and enjoy the game.”
The Nationals’ Daniel Murphy got to know Fernandez more at this year’s All-Star Game.
“I got up this morning, got my workout in and saw the news on ESPN,” Murphy said. “My heart went out to his family for their loss. There’s really no words you can use to describe the loss for the Fernandez family and the Marlins. This is beyond baseball.”
Hurdle, perhaps, put it best addressing the passing.
“If you use your eyes and ears, there’s reminders throughout your week that life’s short and you don’t call the shots,” he said. “A sense of gratitude and a sense of joy need to be more prevalent. In my experience with that young man — I spent 3.5 hours with him on the dais at the Baseball Writer’s Dinner in 2013; he was in very close proximity to me — he was just a tremendously engaging young man. We had a lot of commentary that night. Since then, whenever we played them, he would come up and put his arm around me like he’s an old soul. ‘Hey, Papi how are you doing, man?’
“When I walked around that corner today, I saw his picture and thought it was another news story. Then I stopped and saw the caption. It took my breath away. It’s just sad. It’s so horribly sad on so many different levels. That there’ll no more of that, there’ll be no more of him, there’ll be no more of that emotion on the mound, that skill-set, that human being, that young man with such a great gift, such a great smile. I’ve been trying to live that life for a while now. I wasn’t always in that place. It just makes all the more sense when things like this happen. Be where your feet are. Enjoy the moment. There’ll be a day where there won’t be another day.”
Perhaps the hardest part of this passing was what he’ll be leaving behind — five days ago, Fernandez announced he and his girlfriend were expecting a child.
“You can’t make sense of it,” LeBlanc said. “You can’t make sense of any of it. It’s just something you wake up and see on the phone, and you can’t believe it actually happened. It still hasn’t sunk in, but the fact he had found a woman he cared about and they were going to have a baby — the timing it just couldn’t be worse.”
There will be a moment of silence prior to today’s game in honor of Fernandez.
- Ben Revere CF
- Wilmer Difo 2B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Danny Espinosa 3B
- Brian Goodwin LF
- Jose Lobaton C
- A.J. Cole P
- John Jaso 1B
- Josh Bell RF
- Andrew McCutchen CF
- Jung Ho Kang 3B
- Sean Rodriguez LF
- Jordy Mercer SS
- Pedro Florimon 2B
- Eric Fryer C
- Tyler Glasnow P
Bottom of the ninth
Whether at home or on the road, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is always by his team’s side.
Last night, he was in Washington’s clubhouse pouring beer and champagne over his players and manager Dusty Baker.
The players clearly appreciate the gesture and, during Pittsburgh Sporting News’ exclusive interview with Rizzo, the general manager was doused with beers by players and coaches.
“This is the culmination of a lot of work and sweat and tears,” Rizzo said. “I’m with these guys a lot. I bleed with them — at home and on the road. We grind it out together, and it’s a statement that there’s some unity there. We want to show we care about them and are in the trenches with them.”
Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo