Shane McClanahan stays perfect as the Blue Jays fall to the Rays 7-3
Photo credit:Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack3 months ago
Scoring 20 runs last night was enjoyable to watch and be a part of, but it was going to be very difficult replicating a strand of last night’s outburst against Shane McClanahan tonight. McClanahan entered tonight’s matchup 7-0, second in the MLB with a 2.05 ERA, as well as a top-10 AL ranking in K/9 with 10.7.
McClanahan had limited Toronto’s opportunities through the first seven frames, and the Rays had a balanced scoring attack, as the Blue Jays dropped tonight’s game by a score of 5-3. McClanahan only allowed four hits tonight, making it eight out of nine career games that he’s had against Toronto in which he has given up four hits or less.
Toronto trailed 5-1 entering the 8th inning, and they were able to push two runs across with a Cavan Biggio home run and an RBI groundout from George Springer. Unfortunately, Yimi Garcia gave those runs right back to Tampa, as the Rays scored twice in the bottom half of the inning.
Blue Jays Nation’s Player of the Game: Nathan Lukes
It’s the first time that Lukes has been awarded this honour, but his number of opportunities are going up as of late and he made some notable plays tonight. Lukes was 1-for-3 with his first career triple. It came in the 8th inning, which led to the aforementioned Springer RBI groundout. In the bottom of the 8th, Lukes had his first career outfield assist, throwing out Christian Bethancourt at third base on a nice one-hopper.
Things worth mentioning
There was some good and bad from Yusei Kikuchi, but there was more of the latter which led to him being the losing pitcher of record. He suffered some really bad “Rays luck” in the first inning, giving up a single on a checked swing from Wander Franco and an infield single from Randy Arozarena (which turned out to be a near-out at first base). Those hits kept the inning going, and Kikuchi would allow one of those runners to come into score.
Kikuchi would be hurt by the long ball in the 3rd inning, allowing solo shots from Jose Siri and Luke Raley. In the next inning, Kikuchi allowed a pair of runs on some loud contact from Manuel Margot and Franco. All told, Kikuchi went five innings, allowing eight hits, five runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. After a month of April in which Kikuchi owned a 3.00 ERA, that number has grown to 4.56 now.
A lot has been made about Cavan Biggio and his minimal contributions this season, but when he gets a hold of a ball, he can really smoke it. Biggio hit his third home run of the season 422 feet off of his former teammate Jason Adam to kick off the mini-rally. After that home run, Lukes tripled and came into score shortly after. Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. went single-walk to put the tying run on base, but Matt Chapman grounded into an inning-ending double play to end the surge.
Before Garcia allowed pair of runs to put the game out of reach, Nate Pearson and Anthony Bass pitched clean innings. After a troubling start to 2023, Bass has had scoreless outings in seven of his last eight games. That’s how you clean things up. Pearson’s night lowered his ERA to 2.08, as he seems to be making himself a reliable option out of the ‘pen.
Toronto now turns to The Big Man to try and earn a series split – Alek Manoah will face the longtime Philly Zach Eflin tomorrow afternoon. Manoah is looking to stack another good outing on top of his last one against Baltimore. Let’s just hope John Schneider doesn’t shorten the outing for him!
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