Another one of the top prospects in Major League Baseball and a top prospect of the Tampa Bay Rays made their MLB debut Monday night. And, the rookie dazzled the Toronto Blue Jays through five innings.
Shane Baz, the 22-year-old rookie, finally got the call to Tampa as he made his debut against a team fighting for their playoff lives. All Shane Baz did, however, was allow two runs on two hits through five innings with five strikeouts.
Baz did not walk a batter and threw 51 of his 65 pitches for strikes. That 78 percent ball-to-strike ratio is the best of any pitching debut in 33 years. Baz flashed his fastball early on, striking out Blue Jays MVP candidate Vlad Guerrero Jr. on a 99 MPH fastball.
Baz got the win in his Major League Debut and may earn a spot on the post-season roster. With Baz now on the big league roster, the Rays put Chris Archer to the 60-day DL, essentially ending the season for Chris Archer.
Kevin Cash talked about the rookie’s debut in the post-game press conference.
“You’re not going to see many more impressive outings against Toronto’s lineup. He got clipped for two solo homers, but other than that, he just really did a nice job of navigating. Threw strikes, used his power, and used his breaking ball. We saw the curveball and slider be pretty elite-looking pitches to a very good group of hitters; so happy for him. He was awesome.”
Cash continued to talk about Baz’s impressive array of pitches and his composure.
“The stuff speaks for itself. The velocity speaks for itself. The composure, that’s what you always wonder about any time it’s your debut. Certainly, when you add in that he’s 22 and what he’s gone through. Even with a little bit of adversity that he faced, you never saw him alter his presence on the mound, which was impressive.”
However, the Rays did not win this game the easy way. After falling behind to the Blue Jays, 2-0, the Rays again had to come from behind to win.
Yandy Diaz hit his 12th home run of the season, a three-run shot in the fifth inning to give the Rays a 3-2 lead. The Rays would add three insurance runs later and took a 6-2 lead into the ninth inning.
That’s when it got a little scary, however, as the Rays sent David Robertson, J.T.Chargois, and then Dietrich Enns to the mound in the ninth. Dietrich Enns eventually shut the door and recorded the final out to help the Rays get the 6-4 win. Enns earned his second save of the season.
This was the Rays 45th come from behind win this season, the most in the Majors.
The Rays are 93-58 on the season, and the magic number is now five for the Rays to win another East Division title. The Rays and Blue Jays will continue their series at Tropicana Field Tuesday night, with Drew Rasmussen getting the start for the Rays.