Marc Rzepczynski retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday night, but New York Mets’ catcher Rene Rivera walked and the left-handed reliever hit pinch hitter Travis D’Arnaud to put two on with two out in what was then a 2-1 game in Washington’s favor.
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker turned to Koda Glover with switch-hitter Jose Reyes due up. Glover threw a 97 mph 2-2 sinker by the Mets’ infielder to end the threat. He came back out for the eighth as well, and retired the first two batters he faced before Oliver Perez came on to record the third out of the frame.
“That was huge,” Baker told reporters after the 2-1 win, when asked about turning to the 23-year-old Glover.
“[Rzepczynski] had D’Arnaud behind in the count and kind of eating out of his hand and then he hit him with a pitch.”
“At that moment, decided that if Reyes came up we were going to have him hit left-handed, which — he’s good on both sides — but he’s excellent on the right side and has a lot of sock. I think he hit two home runs off us earlier in the year from the right side. So, yeah, I mean, hey, if you’re here, we’re going to use you.”
The more success Glover has, the more comfortable he feels on the mound in the majors, and the more comfortable Baker feels turning to him in tight games.
So has he shown his manager that he can handle the assignments?
“Yeah, but we’ll see. We’ve still got a ways to go and the [pressure] is about to mount,” Baker said.
“So we’ll see. You keep doing the job and we’ll keep putting you out there.
“The main thing that Koda does, he throws strikes. He throws quality strikes, and he hasn’t walked anybody in big spots, which is big. Which is huge. Koda’s doing an outstanding job and we were told when he came here that he was a gamer and he wasn’t afraid and he doesn’t seem intimated by the big stage or by circumstances whenever we put him in the ballgame.”
Glover has a 3.00 ERA, a 2.15 FIP, four walks (3.27 BB/9) and 12 Ks (9.00 K/9), with a .171/.244/.268 line against in 12 IP after retiring all three batters he faced in an 18-pitch, 13-strike outing in Citi Field.
It’s not just his manager who’s impressed with the 2015 8th Round pick. His teammates like what they see.
“Seeing Koda Glover come out and do what he did, that fired me up in right field,” Bryce Harper told MASN’s Dan Kolko after the game.
Harper was asked what has impressed him most about Glover in the short time the right-hander has been up in the majors.
“Attitude,” Harper said. “He's unbelievable. He don't give a crap who you are or where you come from or what you do. He just goes out there, carves, and does his job and it’s a lot of fun to watch. Like I said before, he’s got a lot of cojones and it’s a lot of fun to watch.”