An uneven first month of the season now behind him, Shane Baz appears to have found his groove.
Coming off his first scoreless outing since his season debut on May 5, the No. 6 Rays prospect was in complete control from the first pitch. Baz opened the game with consecutive strikeouts and fanned three of the first four batters he faced. The 21-year-old went to one three-ball count -- to the first batter of the game -- and needed just 53 pitches, 39 for strikes, to complete his spotless outing.
Baz extended his shutout streak to 11 consecutive innings dating back to the final frame of his May 28 start. The right-hander has shaved more than a run off his ERA thanks to back-to-back scoreless outings to begin June. After going 0-4 with a 3.57 ERA in five starts in May, Baz has allowed three hits, no walks and struck out 14 in two starts covering 10 frames this month.
One key to the Texas native's success this season has been his impeccable control. He entered 2021 averaging more than four walks per nine innings over three Minor League seasons. Through seven starts spanning 32 2/3 innings, Baz has issued two walks -- just one since Opening Night -- and 49 strikeouts.
The 12th overall pick in the 2017 Draft lowered his WHIP to 0.73 and is holding opponents to a .190 average.