Even though his team lost Sunday, Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash may have found another piece to his pitching puzzle.
The Rays failed to sweep the New York Yankees in the series finale, dropping an 8-4 decision that was decided late when the Bronx Bombers scored four times in the 10th inning.
However, what happened in the beginning — with his opener — pleased the manager.
Cash watched former prized prospect Brent Honeywell Jr. make his major league debut with two spotless innings.
“Pretty outstanding,” said Cash of Honeywell’s long-awaited debut. “Man, what a strong message he sent to us. It was a special moment.”
Honeywell, 26, will not be around Monday night when the Rays open a four-game series home series against the Texas Rangers — the right-hander was optioned after his debut — but he left an impression.
His journey to the majors was derailed with four procedures on his right arm, one being Tommy John surgery in 2018.
Honeywell had not pitched in a game since September 2017 at Triple-A Durham, but the rust was not evident Sunday as he made his first pro appearance in 1,298 days.
Honeywell retired all six batters he faced, and he struck out stars Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres in the process.
The 72nd overall draft pick in 2014, Honeywell is the nephew of 1974 National League Cy Young winner Mike Marshall. Like his uncle, Honeywell possesses a screwball.
“For missing three years, he looked outstanding. We’ll see how he feels bouncing back and continue his progression,” Cash said.
Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 0.75 ERA) will open the series Monday. The right-hander has been outstanding through two starts — allowing just five hits in 12 innings while walking two and whiffing 15.
In his lone career start against Texas on Sept. 17, 2018, Glasnow earned his first Rays win after just two hits in six shoutout innings in Tampa Bay’s 3-0 win in Arlington.
Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer, who was traded to Pittsburgh for Glasnow at the deadline in 2018, will miss his scheduled Thursday start against Texas after leaving his Saturday outing due to right forearm tightness.
The Rangers, meanwhile, saw their bats held in check the past three days, particularly Friday in the series opener against the visiting San Diego Padres.
Texas failed to get a hit against Joe Musgrove and his nasty breaking ball — the Padres’ first no-hitter in their 53-season history. Following a 7-4 San Diego win on Saturday, the Rangers produced just five hits Sunday and were blanked again, 2-0, as the Padres completed a sweep.
Over the three games, Texas was outscored 12-4 and its batters went 12-for-90 (.133).
“I was more disappointed in the first five or six innings,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said after the series finale. “We didn’t do anything — we were chasing and expanding, everything we don’t want to do.
“They had their starter (Adrian Morejon) go out in the first inning, and we had their bullpen for the whole game. That’s on us. We’ve got to do a better job against their bullpen.”
Texas’ Monday starter will be right-hander Dane Dunning (1-0, 1.80 ERA), who will be facing the Rays for the first time.
A 2016 first-round pick of the Washington Nationals, the former University of Florida hurler earned his first Texas win with five innings of one-run ball Tuesday in the Rangers’ 7-4 victory over Toronto.
–Field Level Media