SAN DIEGO -- Kyle Lloyd views his journey to the Majors as a long and difficult one. Even his Tuesday morning trip to San Diego was not without its hurdles.Before Lloyd stepped on a Major League mound for the first time as the Padres' starter in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to
SAN DIEGO -- Kyle Lloyd views his journey to the Majors as a long and difficult one. Even his Tuesday morning trip to San Diego was not without its hurdles.
Before Lloyd stepped on a Major League mound for the first time as the Padres' starter in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Mets, his 8:30 a.m. flight from El Paso, Texas, to Phoenix was delayed half an hour. He wasn't concerned until he spent three extra hours in Arizona. Initially expecting to land before noon, Lloyd instead arrived in San Diego about four hours before he was scheduled to deliver his first pitch.
Lloyd, the Padres' 29th-round pick in the 2013 Draft, pitched four-plus innings in his debut, finishing the 83-pitch outing by allowing four runs with two strikeouts. Lloyd's voice cracked as he discussed what Tuesday's start meant to him.
"It was a long road, but really fortunate, really lucky to be here," he said. "Just trying to make the most of the opportunity."
The Padres needed to promote a starter after Monday's trade sent Trevor Cahill, as well as relievers Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter, to Kansas City. Cahill was scheduled to start Wednesday, while Jhoulys Chacin was supposed to start Tuesday, but San Diego opted to push Chacin back a day after he experienced minor back tightness.
Having most recently started for Triple-A El Paso on Thursday, Lloyd pitched Tuesday on regular rest. He also didn't have to spend an extra day swimming in thoughts about his upcoming debut.
"If you see in a guy's eyes when he gets to the big leagues, asking him to wait 24 hours is borderline torture," manager Andy Green said.
After learning of his promotion Monday night, Lloyd called his parents, fiancee and sisters, some of the calls waking their sleeping recipients. The group managed to make it to San Diego to watch Lloyd, who himself made Tuesday's start on little sleep.
"Little different atmosphere," he quipped.
Yoenis Cespedes introduced him to big league hitting, sending a full-count slider out to left in the first. Lloyd retired seven of the next nine Mets, issuing only a pair of walks, while the Padres homered twice in the second to take a 3-1 lead.
Travis d'Arnaud's two-out single in the fourth brought New York within one before Lloyd struck out opposing pitcher Seth Lugo to end the inning. It was the final batter he retired in his debut, allowing back-to-back doubles to begin the fifth before exiting in a tie game.
"He was out there giving absolutely everything he had," Green said. "... He showed no fear whatsoever."
Lloyd did not earn his promotion because of fiery velocity, with none of his pitches Tuesday night surpassing 88 mph. Never considered a top prospect, Lloyd spent parts of his first three Minor League seasons in relief. In 20 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, Lloyd had a 4.18 ERA, averaging nearly six innings an outing. It didn't hinder his appeal when he pitched a no-hitter for Double-A San Antonio on May 13.
Lloyd became the eighth Padre to make his MLB debut in 2017. With Travis Wood, acquired in the trade with the Royals, a possibility to join the Padres' rotation, Lloyd's immediate future is unknown. That won't stop him from savoring Tuesday night.
"It's been a whirlwind," Lloyd said. "It was pretty surreal last night when I found out. Not a lot of sleep went into today's outing, but I couldn't ask for a better opportunity."
Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.