McClanahan leads Rays to a sweep of Cards

by Gary Shelton on June 10, 2022

in general

Friday, 4 a.m.

With every fastball, he becomes better. With every slider, he climbs up the charts of Tampa Bay pitching lore. With every curve, fans feel more and more confident any time Shane McClanahan grips the baseball -- and the game -- in his fist.

Perhaps it is time to wonder if any Rays' pitcher has ever been better.

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McClanahan was superb again in Thursday afternoon's 2-1 series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. McClanahan went a career-high eight innings and allowed just two hits and no earned runs in winning his seventh game of the season. He struck out nine batters to run his league-leading total to 98.And who has ever been better?

Oh the immediate candidates will come from David Price, who won the Cy Young Award in 2012, and Blake Snell, who won in 2018. But 12 games into the season, McClanahan's ERA is at 1.87. Snell's was a 3.56 and Price's at 2.40. Price struck out 70 ad Snell 76.

Granted, there is much of the season to play, but at this point, McClanahan's 7-2 record compares well with Price's 8-4 and Snell's 7-3. It’s easy to say he has had the best third of a season in franchise history.

"Shane continues to back it up, back it up, back it up," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "That stuff, that command. It's why he’s there with strong performance after strong performance."

The Rays have allowed thewe runs (or fewer) in eight of their last 9 games and 36 times overall this season. The Rays have a 2.51 ERA in their last 26 games since May 11, best in the majors. Rays starters also lead the majors over that stretch with a 2.47 ERA, allowing one run (or fewer) in 15 of those games.

The only run that McClanahan gave up came when he threw wildly to first base in the sixth inning, scoring Paul Goldschmidt, who had walked. The Rays, who had just three hits a night after getting 18, scored their runs when Ji-Man Choi homered in the third with Kevin Kiermaier on base.

Jason Adam had control problems, but got the sace thanks to a game-ending double play.

The sweep leaves the Rays at 34-23, a season-best 11 games over .500.

The Rays now travel to Minnesota to face the Twins, starting with an 8:10 game tonight. Drew Rasmussen will start for the Rays against David Smeltzer.

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