It could not have gone any better for Rays top prospect Brendan McKay in his MLB debut today as McKay gave the Rays exactly what they needed in a 5-2 Rays win.
McKay allowed one hit through six innings and was near perfect in his Rays debut. The final line on McKay, six innings pitched no runs allowed, one hit, one walk and three strikeouts while throwing 81 pitches.
After losing eight of their last eleven, the Rays needed this type of performance to right the ship and get that swagger back that has been missing so far in the month of June.
The Rays had planned to use Ryan Yarborough as the starter on Saturday afternoon. But Yarborough pitched three innings in relief in the 18 win in Minnesota on Thursday to get the win and was not available to start.
Thats when the Rays turned to the 23 year old Brendan McKay to eat up some innings and hopefully get them into the fifth or sixth inning and get some rest for the bullpen.
Since being drafted in 2017 as the fourth overall pick, McKay has quickly ascended through the Rays minor league system pitching 165 innings, posting a 12-2 record with a 1.85 ERA averaging 11.6 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings.
Mckay retired the first 16 batters he faced before allowing a hit to Danny Santana and later issued a walk to Shin Shoo Choo. McKay used three pitches to keep the Ranger hitters off a balance using a curve, a change, and a 92-93 MPH fastball.
No word yet if Mckay will DH at all over the next couple of games, but when the Rays called up McKay on Friday the plan was to let him DH a couple of days in between starts.
McKay will make his next start against the New York Yankees on Friday night.
The Rays had a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning when Willy Adames and Travis d’Arnaud hit back to back solo homers to put the Rays up 5-0.
Colin Poche, Oliver Drake, and Jose Alvarado all pitched in relief of McKay with Drake and Alvarado each allowing one run. This was the first appearance for Alvarado since June first against Minnesota. Alvarado has missed most of the month tending to some family issues in Venezuela.
With the win today, the Rays moved back in front of the Rangers in the wild card race and will try to win the series from Texas tomorrow afternoon with Blake Snell pitching for the Rays.
With one week before the All-Star break, the Rays will host Baltimore and the Yankees this week and have a chance to get back into the American League East race. The Rays currently trail the Yankees by seven games.
When Snell gets his act together, imagine a rotation of Tyler Glasnow, Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, and Brendan Mckay. That is a rotation that has the potential to cause some real problems for opposing teams in the second half of the season.