OAKLAND -- Joe Boyle was asked what he was going to remember about the day he pitched three shutout innings against the Padres in his Major League debut.
“I’m going to remember how I burnt my tongue on a cup of coffee this morning,” Boyle said after the A’s fell, 10-1, in the series finale Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.
Really? Not striking out Fernando Tatis Jr. twice?
Boyle's fastball topped out at 99.7 mph as he faced 12 batters and allowed just one hit. He struck out four and walked two.
Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said he wanted Boyle to have a positive outing.
“I thought Boyle did a great job,” Kotsay said. “We talked before the game a little bit about command. His strike percentage throughout the Minor Leagues was a little bit low, but we saw a kid come out with some confidence today. He attacked the zone, used his fastball. You saw his breaking ball can be a finish pitch.
“He did a great job for three innings. That was the plan, get his feet wet, get him out there and turn the ball over to [Ken Waldichuk].”
Waldichuk wasn’t as successful as Boyle, allowing six runs in four innings as the Padres completed a three-game sweep. Juan Soto hit his first career grand slam in the eighth off of Devin Sweet, his second homer of the game.
From the Oakland side of things, this was all about Boyle. The A’s have struggled with their starting pitching this year. Oakland starters have just 17 wins, fewest in the majors. The starters’ ERA is 5.81, second-worst in MLB behind the Rockies.
The future, however …
“We’ve got a young core of starting pitchers and they’re all capable of getting much better,” catcher Shea Langeliers said. “Not that they’re already making strides this year, but I think we’ve got a chance to be really good. …
“We’ve got a lot of guys with a lot of good stuff. Mason [Miller], obviously, his stuff is electric. Boyle. [Luis] Medina’s got really good stuff.”
One start of just three innings isn’t a lot of data, but Boyle has a chance to be part of a developing rotation going forward. He has the goods.
“The stuff’s really good,” Langeliers said. “For him, it’s being aggressive attacking the strike zone, trusting that his stuff really is that good. I thought he looked really good today.
“Catching him is a lot of fun. I like how he goes out there and attacks the zone.”
Boyle said he was grateful for the opportunity.
“I didn’t try to predict how it was going to go,” he said. “But I’m definitely happy with the way it went. I think it’s a good outing to build on and learn from going forward.”
Boyle said his heart rate was higher than usual but nerves didn’t get in the way.
“Once I got out there, it just felt like baseball,” he said. “Obviously, you know the kind of hitters they are. You know that they’re good and what they can handle and what their strengths and weaknesses are. So you prepare for that going into it.”
Boyle’s parents and fiancée made it to the game, as well as some friends and his agent. Boyle said he didn’t keep anything from the start and didn’t know where the ball he got Tatis with for his first career strikeout ended up.
But he’ll always have the memory of that burnt tongue.