The series to watch for the first part of this week is the Tampa Bay Rays visiting the Chicago White Sox. They headed into Monday's action with the two best records in all of baseball. Unfortunately, the first bit of big news from the series is an injury to one of the biggest stars in it.
Rays ace Tyler Glasnow exited the game with what the team has announced is right elbow inflammation.
The right-hander departed the game after just four innings and 53 pitches. He allowed two runs on three hits with six strikeouts against one walk. His velocity didn't really fall at all -- his last two fastballs were the hardest pitches he threw all night -- but he could be seen shaking his arm and flexing his hand a bit multiple times. Knowing this and hearing elbow inflammation, our minds can wander to the worst-case scenario pretty easily, but it's possible this is a minor issue. There's no reason to jump to any conclusions just yet.
Glasnow, 27, has a 2.66 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with 123 strikeouts against 27 walks in 88 innings this season. He's been one of the best pitches in baseball, so obviously him missing any time hurts the Rays.
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The Rays entered Monday 42-24 and with a three-game lead in the AL East. They obviously have a knack for overcoming injuries, but Glasnow is a big deal to this roster with his ability to get length. He'd thrown at least six innings 10 of his 13 outings before Monday while going at least seven innings six times and at least eight twice. With him playing the role of workhorse, the Rays can rely heavily on their relievers in other games.