McKay struggles as the Mariners bomb Rays

by Gary Shelton on August 20, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

McKay has struggled with his command./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Quick. Someone stop Brendan McKay's backslide.

For goodness sakes, the kid is getting worse.

McKay struggled once again Monday night, lasting only two innings and giving up seven runs (only three earned) in a 9-3 loss to the last-place Seattle Mariners.

McKay gave up three hits and walked three, meaning that in his last two starts, he's thrown just six innings and has walked nine

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Kiermaier makes a catch for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

batters. He has given up three or more runs in five straight starts (after allowing only three runs combined in three innings) without getting out of the fifth.

Pham, Adames celebrate Pham's homer./JEFFRY S. KING

“He went really fastball heavy," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "I know he’s a fastball pitcher, but you’ve got to continue to mix it a little bit. In the first inning, he was one out and 0-2 seven pitches into the game, and then, before you know it, it’s a three-spot. The two walks didn’t help early on. It's something we’ve got to help him with and get him in a better spot where he's willing to throw the ball over the plate. He’s

Alvarado threw a scoreless inning./JEFFREY S. KING

always been a strike thrower. We’re seeing him struggle with the zone and major league teams are making him pay a little."

With McKay's struggles, the Rays fell behind 7-1 and never really threatened against the last-place team of the AL West.

“You’d like to see gradual improvements, let’s make some strides here and there, but certainly his last two outings, a little

Cash hasn't seen enough offense lately./JEFFREY S. KING

bit of a rut," Cash said. "That happens. The best ones, Charlie Morton, he’s been in a rut before. We haven’t seen it this season, but certainly throughout his career. All the good ones go through it. Brendan is going to be really good. He’s going to be a really good pitcher. He needs to work through some stuff right now.”

The Rays now face the problem of trying to salvage McKay's reputation. First, they have to get him out of his skid.

“I think (you do it) the same way you would do with any other player or young player for that matter," Cash said. "Communicate, simplify the approach a little bit. Sometimes it’s really easy to try to do too much out there and overthink the thought process and all those things, but that’s why Kyle

Roe gave up one run in an inning./JEFFREY S. KING

(Snyder) and Stan (Boroski) are so good, and Zunino and Travis are so good. They really have done a nice job of working with the staff collectively and we will get him right.”

McKay admits it's frustrating.

“Some of the same struggles that I had the couple past starts," McKay said of his night. "I’m falling behind a lot early and it’s a lot easier for hitters to hit when they’re able to be aggressive and free. Then, making a couple of quality pitches and not getting the results you want in outs or strikes, it kind of weighs on you mentally and frustrates you. Things can snowball from there.”

Drake threw two innings for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

So how does he deal with it?

“Do the best you can to forget about it and move on to take your next start as a whole new game," McKay said. "Nothing from the past is going to dictate what you do in that game.”

McKay can't remember a rough patch like this in the minors.

“Not anything that I can recall. It’s different, it weighs on you as a person. You don’t like to do it and don’t like to see it for your teammates, having to put a lot of work on them to help pick you up, but it goes like that sometimes. Come back tomorrow and try it all over again.”

Reliever Jose Alvarado pitched a scoreless inning, but Cash wants to see him be more precise. "You don't have to be 3-2 on every batter," he said. "I think thats what we’re seeing right now. We have to get him more efficient."

The Rays try to even their series tonight against Seattle in a 7:10 p.m. game at Tropicana Field. Diego Castillo of the Rays will pitch against Matt Wisler of Seattle.



The Rays fell to 33-30 (.524) at home, matching their home losses from last season when their 51-30 mark tied for 3rd in the majors.

It wasn't just McKay who struggled. The Rays had only six hits, which was the sixth straight game that Tampa Bay hasn't had more than that.

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