Boyd shows promise in his MLB debut
TORONTO -- Matt Boyd wasn't nervous, just excited.
The Blue Jays' left-hander made his Major League debut on Saturday -- allowing four earned runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings, while striking out seven, in a 4-0 loss to the Rangers at Rogers Centre.
His seven strikeouts matched a Blue Jays record for a pitcher making his debut as a starter.
"Definitely before that first pitch, when I get the ball back, I always just say a little prayer -- and right after that, I kind of looked around. It was pretty surreal," said Boyd of his first big league start. "Getting to live my dream, all the years playing this game and working for it ... kind of came up to this point and it was just awesome. It was surreal, definitely."
Originally a 13th-round selection of the Reds in the 2012 MLB Draft, Boyd re-entered the Draft after not signing with Cincinnati and was selected in the sixth-round by the Blue Jays in '13.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Mercer Island, Wash., started the 2015 season with Double-A New Hampshire before being promoted to Triple-A Buffalo -- where he was 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts.
"I was hanging out [on Friday] and got the phone call. I was just with my wife [and] got the phone call later in the day. From there, we just drove the pickup [truck] up to Toronto," Boyd said. "I'm living out of a suitcase, right now. I didn't have a place in Buffalo, either. [My wife and I are] living like nomads -- living out of our pickup and suitcases, right now."
The 24-year-old started well striking out Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Rua to start the first. After a Prince Fielder single, Boyd got Adrian Beltre to line out.
"Definitely something to build off of," Boyd said of his start. "You have a goal at the start, you always want to get deep in the game and put your team in a position to win the game. Some of those home runs, I know I could've made a few pitches a little differently and just executed them a little better."
With the Rangers leading, 1-0, Boyd surrendered a leadoff home run to Mitch Moreland in the fourth.
"If the ball is up, it gets hit," Boyd said of what he learned in his debut. "That's one thing you can learn. Just getting ahead in the counts. When I got hurt, I think it [was] when the ball was up and when I was behind in the count. Moreland, I was 3-0, he knew I had to come fastball there. Just got to get ahead in the count and attack."
Boyd's solid start even caught the eye of Rangers manager Jeff Banister.
"Their guy came out hot, had some adrenaline going and threw the ball very well. Not a bad outing for your first [start] in the big leagues," Banister said. "I'm sure he'd wish for a different outcome. But he kept some of our hitters off balance and mixed in a breaking ball and fastball, and we were fortunate enough to get some pitches out over the plate that we were able to drive out of the ballpark."
With Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list, the Blue Jays have been looking for a regular arm to take his spot in the rotation. Boyd has at least earned another look with his outing on Saturday.
"I thought he did a great job out there, being [his] debut," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "I thought he did a great job. He had a bunch of strikeouts; I don't think he walked anybody.
"You never know what to expect when somebody's making their debut, but he's a confident guy."