Few things in life are infinite but Austin Pruitt’s ERA — at the moment, at least — is one of them.
The Rays’ 27-year-old right-hander made his MLB debut in the ninth inning of Tampa Bay’s 7-3 Opening Day win against the Yankees. However, it took the University of Houston Product just 10 pitches to load the bases with nobody out.
A lot of the damage was just poor luck; Chase Headley beat the shift for an opposite field single, Evan Longoria bobbled a tough groundball on the transition, and Aaron Hicks singled off the top of the glove of leaping shortstop Tim Beckham.
Closer Alex Colome came on and, after surrounding a sacrifice fly to Chris Carter, recorded the final two outs to seal the win. Since Pruitt did not record an out and allowed an unearned run, Pruitt’s ERA sits at infinity.
"That part kind of" stunk, Pruitt said to reporters about his ERA, including the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. "But it is what it is, and Colome did an awesome job cleaning up my mess."
Velocity wise, Pruitt was fine as his fastball averaged 92.6 mph, according to FanGraphs.
Standing at 5’11, weighing 165 pounds, Pruitt is undersized for a pitcher but he’s garnered support from many in the Rays organizations. Sunday’s starter and Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer told MLB.com he was so impressed by Pruitt in the spring, he sought out advice.
“He's a really good pitcher. I've watched a number of his bullpens,” Archer said. “And from watching him, I've joked with him, I've learned a lot. Because he can really, really pitch."
Luckily for Pruitt, Rays manager Kevin Cash indicated after Sunday’s win that he will give his righty more opportunities to record “big outs” this season.
"I think Austin Pruitt threw the ball well," Cash said. "I mean, if you go back and look, he gave up two soft ground balls, one hard-hit line drive. He was in the zone. That's all you can ask for from a young guy making his debut. We'll get him back out there as soon as possible. We know that he's going to get us a lot of big outs this year."
Injuries to Shawn Tolleson and Brad Boxberger allowed Pruitt, a ninth-round pick from 2013 to make the Rays’ 25-man roster out of Spring Training. In nine spring games, he went 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA and 18 punchouts in 16.2 innings