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Rays 8 Reds 0: Ending the road trip on a happy note

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s getaway day game featured the big league debut of Cincinnati prospect named Levi Stout, a name that for some reason makes me think he should have been pitching for 1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

Rays fans will know that when the Rays face a starter making his debut, either they get nearly no-hit, or they smack around the poor pitcher until the rookie is mercifully removed.

I don’t like the former because, well, I’m a Rays fan and I want them to win. And I can’t fully enjoy the latter, because as much as I want runs and wins, I can’t stop thinking about some young kid for whom this day is a dream come true, with his parents and little league coaches all flying in to see his debut, and then it’s a mess.

Well today we saw that major league debut smackdown, but to Stout’s credit he survived a miserable first inning to have better success in the next three.

The very first batter, Yandy Diaz, hit a home run. Then, before the Reds could record three outs, came single, single, double, single, double, single (I think), with a run-scoring balk for good measure, to give the Rays a 6-0 lead. Sure, Stout had some bad luck in that none of these liners or grounders were right at a fielder, but the exit velocities on these hits were: 114.5, 105, 114.3, 101.9, 97.8, 105.6, 109.2. When exit velos are averaging over 100mph then I don’t think we use the term “bad luck.”

The Rays added a run in the third, when Josh Lowe walked, stole second, and scored on slugger Taylor Walls’ single. They scored once more in the sixth, after two walks and two singles.

Rasmussen fully redeemed himself after his disappointing start in Toronto, although he did leave relatively early (five innings, 78 pitches). The three walks were somewhat uncharacteristic of his best appearances, but one inning in which he allowed two men on base, he was able to get the grounder that erased them with a double play. I assume the short outing was due to big lead plus rested bullpen plus Thursday offday.

Josh Fleming took his place and also kept the Reds off the board, giving up just one hit over three innings.

Perhaps surprisingly the Rays wobbled only when Fairbanks came in to pitch the ninth. Fairbanks had not pitched for a week, and no doubt they wanted him to get in some work so he’d be sharp when they really needed him. Well, either Pete was indeed very rusty, or unaccustomed to pitching with a huge lead, or both, but he was a mess. He gave up a single to the leadoff batter, got two outs, and then threw so wildly to the next batter — behind him, at his head — that he not only walked him but brought out Cincinnati manager Bell screaming about the risk to his batter. Pete then walked the next batter to load the bases, but then seemed to remember that he is Pete f-ing Fairbanks and painted the corners to strike out the last batter.

So over the last two games, Rays have given up no runs while scoring 18. Looks like we are back on track.