Youth leads Rays to win over White Sox

by Gary Shelton on August 22, 2021

in general

Cash has seen his youngsters play well./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 3 a.m.

The temptation is to measure them by their years. They have been around long enough, and they have won enough, to push the rocking chair toward them.

After all, Nelson Cruz is 40. Collin McHugh is 34. Kevin Kiermaier and Joey Wendle are 31. Mike Zunino is 30.

Still, there seems to bea youth movement afoot with these Tampa Bay Rays. Every day, it seems, another player is growing up. Every game, it looks like the kids are all right.

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Take Saturday's 8-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Luis Patino, 21, started and won the game. Wander Franco, 20, drove in two runs. All in all, it was a big day for the Tampa Bay Rugrats.

Patino went six innings and allowed five hits and two earned runs, bouncing back from a subpar performance against Minnesota. His effort came two nights after rookie Shane McClanahan was superb against Baltimore.

Add in Austin Meadows (26), Randy Arozarena (26), Manuel Margot (26) and Brandon Lowe (26), and the Rays seem to have a solid core.

The key, of course, is the starting pitching. The recent performances of McClanahan and Patino offer some hope.

He was really good," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "He made big pitches. His fastball was the most impressive. Maybe he didn't have the best feel for his slider, but he gave us everything we could ask for."

The Rays scored three times in the first inning and had a 6-1 lead after five. Five of their 11 hits were for extra bases.

Rookie Wander Franco suddenly looks ripe enough for the big leagues, too. In his last 19 games, he's hitting .324. He's reached base in 23 straight games, most in the majors.

Patino gave himself a good talking-to during the game.

"I told myself not to run away," Patino said. "To attack these guys. After a couple of pitches, I said I’m the best player out here. Not to disrespect any of those guys, but that’s the mentality I had."

The Rays try to win the three-game series against Chicago in a 1:10 p.m. game today at Tropicana Field. Chris Archer will make his first start since April 10. He has not won a major league game since August 10 of 2019. He will pitch against Chicago's Reynaldo Lopez.

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