They say that pitchers have to have a very short memory, and if there was anyone on the Tampa Bay Rays who really needed to heed that wisdom early in the 2013 season, it was probably reliever Jake McGee.
He’d had a few days to stew over his season debut from Tuesday, a disastrous outing that saw the lefty give up a whopping five runs on four hits (including a homer) and a walk — and he didn’t even get to finish the inning, recording just a pair of outs after 25 pitches.
The five runs were the most that McGee had ever allowed in any appearance, and as curious as it was that he was left on the mound for the duration of the beating, it did knock the setup man’s stock down a notch.
That said, whether two days was enough to get over the worst outing of his career or not wasn’t left to McGee, as the team called on him once again to do his thing on Friday, even though it wasn’t a hold situation.
Matt Moore had just come off six dominating innings against the Cleveland Indians, and the seventh inning with a four-run lead — his typical inning in a relatively low-leverage situation —was what as good of way as there was to ease McGee back into things.
And the he did just that, getting a trio of ground outs on 13 thirteen fastballs, recording the out each time with his two-seamer.
Sure, a strikeout or two — McGee’s specialty — would have been nice to see, but the team will take this rebound outing just the same. Much is expected of the hard-throwing 26-year old in 2013, who had been coming off a dominating 2.0 fWAR season as one of the league’s best, and perhaps most underrated relievers.
His lackluster spring (five runs over 8.1 innings) might have exacerbated the concern of the implosion that started his season, but McGee looked as though he’s over that blip in the radar, and the Rays’ seventh innings will be that much safer for it as long as he keeps it that way.