The clock atop the Washington Nationals bullpen read “10:00” when the bullpen door swung open during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game, and Koda Glover ran into the first major league game of his career. An old reliever’s favorite, “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne, blared as the new No. 32 hustled in as fast as any reliever has all year.
“For the first time I was actually nervous. I can actually admit that,” Glover said. “I don’t normally get nervous, but it definitely got the blood pumping.”
Not long after, he threw his first major league pitch. The nerves flew away on the 98 mph fastball he spotted at the knees of the Dodgers’ Justin Turner.
“I love him already,” Bryce Harper said. “The guy can throw 98 at the knees. What’s better than that? Just unbelievable. My brother told me about him, how he is as a person. To be able to come up here and throw 98, three up, three down, like that. That’s good to see.”
Turner flied out to right a pitch later. Andrew Toles hit another 98 mph fastball back to Glover on the 22-year-old’s third pitch. He calmly threw him out. Then Scott Van Slyke lined the first pitch he saw to Jayson Werth. Four pitches in the zone, three outs, securing an 8-1 Nationals’ victory.
“He wasn’t afraid. Big time,” Nationals Manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re really impressed in our organization by him. He’s come on rather quickly. This is the first time I’ve seen him in person. First time I’ve seen him throw. … That was a perfect game to get him into. Because sometimes you’re forced into action, bases loaded in the 13th inning or something, so that was a perfect game to get your feet wet.”
Glover got the call up around 11 p.m. Tuesday night. Not 24 hours later, the ball with which he threw his first major league pitch was being tossed back to the Nationals dugout. He only threw three more. Everyone always says the game seems much faster in the majors, but Glover’s first outing — all four pitches of it — was, like his path to the majors, particularly quick.
“It’s pretty fast, huh?,” Glover said. “Yeah, it’s definitely not a myth, it’s pretty fast.”