Opening Day Victory, McClanahan Sets The Tone With Impressive Start

Pitching, Defense, and Homers Highlight Rays Win

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St.Petersburg, FL – The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-0 to win their season opener in front of a sold out crowd of 25,025.

Shane McClanahan (1-0, 0.00 ERA) picks up the win for Tampa Bay and Edward Rodriguez (0-1, 5.06 ERA) takes the loss for the Tigers. Tampa Bay has won their last three opening day games and five of their last seven. Overall, they improve to 14-12 all-time on opening day. It was the third time Tampa Bay’s pitching staff delivered shutouts on opening day joining the 2021 staff (1-0, 4/21/21) and the 2000 staff (7-0, 4/3/2000).

Jose Siri gave the Rays a 1-0 lead with a solo homer to open the home half of the third. The lead was extended to 3-0 in the bootom of the sixth on RBI singles by Randy Arozarena and pinch-hitter Luke Raley.

Detroit threated in the top of the seventh putting runners at first and second with two outs against Colin Poche. Ryan Kreidler‘s bloop shot down the right field line was caught by a fully extended Manuel Margot in right. Manager Kevin Cash described the catch as “healthy.” Last season Margot batteld a knee injury and later a tender hamstring. The tracking the ball slicing away from him to the right field line, closing speed, and laying out to make the grab are all signs that he has returned to full health.

Shane McClanahan delivered six shutout innings allowing just two hits while striking out six and walking one. He made 87 pitches with 58 for strikes. The win snapped a personal three game losing streak for McClanahan dating back to September 20th of last season. He becomes just the third Rays starting pitcher to log 6 or more scoreless innings on opening day joining Tyler Glasnow (2021) and Steve Trachsel (2000).

Colin Poche and Jason Adam worked a scoreless seventh and eighth innings respectively.

Wander Franco worked a full count and on the ninth pitch of the plate appearance delievered a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the eighth to extend the Rays lead to 4-0. He becomes the second youngest Rays player to homer on opening day at 22 years 29 days old. Only Carl Crawford at 21 year 238 days was younger when he delivered a walk-off three run homer on March 21, 2003.

Despite it not being a save situation, Pete Fairbanks entered in the ninth inning to close the door and secure the victory. The scoreless fram extended his scoreless inning streak to 23.0. His streak is currently the third longest in baseball trailing Casey Sadler (27.2IP) of the Seattle Mariners and Cristian Javier (25.1IP) of the Houston Astros.

Overall it was a Rays type of win, the type of win that Kevin Cash said they’ll take every day. It starts with the starting pitcher setting the tone and Shane McClanahan certainly did that in six scoreless framess. The bullpen was solid in closing the door over the final three frames. Jose Siri and Wander Franco delivered a homers and the Rays were able to piece together a couple of runs without the benefit of a homer.

Siri Homer:

Jose Siri got the Rays on the board first leading off the bottom of the third inning with a solo shot to left.

Dave Wills Remembered:

Dave Wills passed away on March 5th at the age of 58. It just doesn’t feel like opening day without Dave’s booming voice, beaming smile, and gregarious personality. The show must go on and Andy Freed and Neil Solondz will bring the game over the air waves and Rays fans are still blessed with one of the best radio crews in the league. Dave was often seen wearing his colorful tropical themed shirts. In his honor, the Rays radio crew donned their best tropical shirts and setup Dave’s work station.

Special First Pitch:

James Shields will sybolically retire as a member of the Rays and was on-hand to throw out the first pitch. Drafted by the Rays in the 16th round of the 2000 draft, Shields made his big league debut with the Rays on May 31, 2006. In seven season with Tampa Bay, Shields posted an 87-73 mark with a 3.89 ERA. He was a workhorse for the Rays logging more than 200 innings in six straight seasons from 2007-2012.

His final start wtih Tampa Bay came at Tropicana Field against the Baltimore Orioles. It was possibly his most dominating start with the Rays throwing a complete game allowing one earned run on two hits while striking out 15 and walking none. Unfortunately, the one run was all the Orioles needed that day as Shields took the loss in a 1-0 Orioles victory.

Opening Week Continues:

Tampa Bay and Detroit will enjoy an off-day Friday and lock horns again on Saturday afternoon at 4:10 pm. Zach Eflin will make his Rays debut and Detroit will sent right hander Spencer Turnbull to the mound.

The Rays and Tigers wrap up their season opening three game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 pm. Jeffrey Springs makes his season debut for the Rays and the Tigers couter with left-hander Joey Wentz.

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.