Rays’ McKay Lives Up To Expectations, Wins MLB Debut Over Rangers

Brendan McKay (1-0, 0.00 ERA) picks up the win as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Texas Rangers 5-1.

With the win, Tampa Bay improves to 47-36 on the season. Despite the win, the Rays have won just four of their last 12, six of their last 13, and are just 12-16. They will go for the series win tomorrow and their first time winninng consecutive games since June 9 through 10th.

Adrian Sampson (6-5, 4.16 ERA) takes the loss for the Rangers who fall to 46-37 on the season. The loss ends the Rangerss season high six game winning streak, which was the longest streak in MLB. Texas will look to win their fourth straight series tomorrow and remain unbeaten in their last 10 serieos, currently 6-0-3 in their last nine.

The Bright Side Of Victory:

Rays McKay Makes Debut Versus Rangers
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Brendan McKay throws against the Texas Rangers in the second inning of his Major League debut in a baseball game Saturday, June 29, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Brendan McKay retired the first 16 batters he faced before allowing a broken bat single to Danny Santana. DeShields was reached second base before being stranded with 2-outs. Overall, McKay worked six scoreless innings allowing just the one hit while striking out two and walking one.

The 16 straight batters retired in a Rays debut set the franchise mark which was previously held by Jeremy Hellickson who retired 10 straight Minnesota Twins in his debut on August 2, 2010.

McKay received a standing ovation from the crowd as he walked off the mound in the sixth inning. “Gave me chills at the moment.” McKay said. “It obviously shows that the crowd knows that something special is going on and they respect it. Your’e doing something that not many peope can do and you are doing it very well.”

After the game, catcher Travis d’Arnaud was asked if he was reminded of anyone he had caught in the past. “Command-wise I’d say [Jacob] deGrom. It was fun, he’s very smart too.” He said. “It’s tough to say because he’s a lefty but it was fun….Not only does he have 95 in his back pocket, but he;ll put it where he wants to and he’s so smart when he sees you cheating, he knows how to to putch to that. Not only does he know hot wo pitch to that, he knows how to execute too.”

Rays Get Early Lead:

McKay was handed an early lead, something the Rays have struggled to produce. Entering today’s game, Tamap Bay had trailed in 16 of their past 17 games dating back to June 11th and by multiple runs in 14 of those games.

In the second inning Yandy Diaz ended an 0-for-9 streak with a leadoff double. He came in to score on Joey Wendle‘s RBI double. Avisail Garcia followed Wendle with a 2-run homer ending his 0-for-17 skid and putting the Rays up 3-0.

The Pen and The Power:

Colin Poche took over for Brendan McKay in the seventh inning and allowed a single but struk out the next three batters to end the inning.

Tampa Bay extended their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the seventh off Rangers reliever Pete Fairbanks who was greeted with back to back homers by Willy Adames and Travis d’Arnaud. It was Adames 10th homer of the season and d’Arnauds fifth.

It marks the sixth time this season that the Rays have hit back to back home runs and first time since may 19 at New York when Kevin Kiermaier and Willy Adames did so against the Yankees Chad Green.

Oliver Drake took over for Poche in the eighth and allowed a leadoff double to Asdrubal Cabrera who advanced to second on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch. Drake walked Tim Federowicz and a 2-out single to Delino DeShields before retiring Elvis Andrus to end the inning.

Jose Alvarado returned to the mound for Tampa Bay for the first time since June 1 against the Minnesota Twins His absence was caused not by injury but by a family medical emergency in his homeland of Venezuela.

Alvarado allowed a one out double to Joey Gallo, uncorcked a wild pitch moving him to third, and then a RBI groundout from Asdrubal Cabrera. It was encouraging to see him knock the rust off and deliver the high octane near triple digits.

“He looked good. the fastball obviously was up there. It will probably take him an outing or two to harness the cammond where he is capable of being, landing the breaking ball.” Manager Kevin Cash said. “I watched him warm up and he spiked acouple fastballs, he spiked a couple cutters. He’s going to be fine. The velocity looks good. the mechanics looked the same before he left.”

Roster Move:

Prior to Saturday’s game the Tampa Bay Rays designated for assignement relilever Casey Sadler and added Brendan McKay to the active roster.

Sadler appeared in nine games with Tampa Bay logging 19.1 innings and pitching to a 1.86 ERA (4ER/19.1IP).

McKay, the #4 pick in the 2017 June draft, will be making his major league debut. In 13 appearances (11 starts) between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham McKay has posted a 6-0 mark with a 1.22 ERA (9ER/66.2IP) while striking out 88 batters and walking 15.

The two-way McKay struggled with the bat with Montgomery batting just .167/.256/.192 in 90 plate appearances but improved drastically at Triple-A Durham batting .265/.400/.551 with four homers in 60 plate appearances.

McKay is the fifth Ray to make his major league debut this season, joining first baseman Nate Lowe, catcher Anthony Bemboom, left handed reliever Colin Poche and infielder Mike Brosseau.

He is also the sixth fastest Rays player to make his debut with the franchise after being drafted by the franchise.

Courtesy Elias Sports Bureau

Up Next:

Tampa Bay Rays Fall To Astros To Open 2019
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The Rays and Rangers conclude their three game weekend series on Sunday afternoon. Jesse Chavez (3-2, 2.79 ERA) will take the mound for Texas and the Rays will counter with Blake Snell.

Snell is attempting to end the month of June on a high note, In his five June starts he’s 1-3 with a 11.94 ERA (23ER/17.1IP).

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I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.