Riding a season-high four game losing skid, the Tampa Bay Rays needed something big to snap out of this funk. Enter Jacob Faria. The 23-year old righty was brought up from Triple-A Durham to start in place of the injured Matt Andriese, and he dazzled in a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Faria, the international league leader in strikeouts, showed how diverse his arsenal is by striking out five in 6 1/3 innings. His fastball was on point and he mixed in some cutters to keep hitters off balance.
The Rays needed every bit of Faria’s brilliance, with Tim Beckham’s third inning base hit the difference in this game. He didn’t disappoint, pitching out of a tiny jam to close out the fifth. They had numerous chances to add on, with two on in the fifth. They failed in those attempts, but it didn’t matter thanks to the young righthander and a bullpen trio that performed up to expectations.
Speaking of the bullpen, Tommy Hunter struck out the first hitter he faced in relief of Faria. Jose Alvarado, called up from Double-A Montgomery in May, set the White Sox down in order to finish the eighth. Then it was Alex Colome’s turn. After a shaky start, falling behind Melky Cabrera and allowing a hit off the glove of Beckham at shortstop, he righted himself by getting some big popups. He then struck out the final batter, Todd Frazier, to close things out.
While it’s likely Faria’s headed back to Durham with Andriese set to return this weekend, the youngster has a bright future ahead. He’s a big part of the Rays future, one that suddenly looks brighter than the Florida sunshine thanks to a young and talented starting rotation.