Rangers, Glynn beat Blue Jays

Monday, August 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TORONTO – In the race for the final spots in the Rangers' 2001 starting rotation, Ryan Glynn threatens to lap the competition.

Following two days of struggles by fellow candidates Matt Perisho and Doug Davis, Glynn gave the Rangers all they ask of a starter. In an 11-6 win over Toronto on Sunday, he gave the Rangers quality strikes, which in turn took him deep into the game and ultimately to the victory.

"He did exactly what we ask and I told him so, too," manager Johnny Oates said after the Rangers broke their three-game losing streak. "He set a tone to show that what we ask can be done. He came right after them. He said 'Here it is; hit it.' That's what we want."

Only a day earlier, Oates had moaned about the lack of progress by the young starters. He talked of pitchers not "trusting" their stuff enough and of throwing too many pitches.

Glynn (3-1) is the exception. Glynn, who has more starting experience than either Davis or Perisho, gives substance to Oates' speeches.

On Sunday, he got into first-inning trouble, but stayed the course by staying aggressive. After getting down 3-0 three batters into the game, he ended up allowing only a bases-empty home run to Carlos Delgado before leaving with two outs in the seventh.

Glynn threw 103 pitches (65 for strikes), an average of 15.5 per inning. Oates considers 15 pitches per inning the optimum. On Saturday, Davis averaged 21.4 pitches per inning. On Friday, Perisho averaged 20.3.

"Last year, I worried a lot about throwing strikes and not walking guys and that got me into trouble," said Glynn, who lowered his ERA to 4.22. "I'm trying to make guys hit the ball now. Let the guys behind me make plays. I seem to get in trouble when I try to strike guys out. I try not to get too greedy."

The lesson has served Glynn well. Sticking by his plan helped keep him – and the Rangers – in the game. It paid off when the Rangers scored in each of the final six innings.

Like Davis on Saturday, Glynn found trouble in the first inning. Where Glynn's performance differed from Davis' was in how he reacted to it. Where Davis took a delicate approach and found even more trouble, Glynn remained aggressive and found success.

Glynn allowed a leadoff single to Shannon Stewart, then watched teammate Mike Lamb commit a fielding error on a potential double-play ball. When former Ranger Dave Martinez drove a sinking fastball into the right-field bullpen, it was 3-0. Glynn kept throwing strikes.

He retired 20 of the next 24 hitters, allowing two singles, a walk and Delgado's homer.

All of that makes Glynn the leading candidate to remain in the rotation next season.

While this season has become about research-and-development, the value to the Rangers is what they can learn for next year.

Right now, they know Rick Helling and Kenny Rogers have two of the rotation spots locked up. The Rangers expect – or at least hope for – Justin Thompson to fill another. Between a trade acquisition, a free agent signing or the recovery of Darren Oliver, a fourth spot should be taken. That leaves three pitchers – Glynn, Davis and Perisho – fighting for one spot.

"Every bit of information you have gives you a better foundation about what decisions you make," Oates said. "These 10 or 11 starts give us a lot more knowledge than what we could find out in spring training. Who knows how many [spots] will be open? It's important, though, that you pitch well."

Glynn seems to understand.