ST. PETERSBURG -- Poise and talent trumped any jitters Jacob Faria encountered Wednesday night while making his Major League debut.The right-hander pitched like a seasoned veteran in the Rays' 3-1 win over the White Sox at Tropicana Field, picking up the win while notching a quality start."Right after the last
ST. PETERSBURG -- Poise and talent trumped any jitters Jacob Faria encountered Wednesday night while making his Major League debut.
The right-hander pitched like a seasoned veteran in the Rays' 3-1 win over the White Sox at Tropicana Field, picking up the win while notching a quality start.
"Right after the last warmup pitch, I just took a look from foul pole to foul pole and I'm like, 'This is a big league stadium and I'm on the mound right now,'" Faria said. "It was great."
In front of nine expected guests plus surprise visits from cousins who live in Tallahassee, Fla., Faria allowed a run in the first then put up nothing but zeroes. His final line: one run on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
"In the middle of the first inning, I got those first couple of hitters out of the way, and I was able to get my blood pressure down," Faria said. "It was right in the middle of the first inning, I was able to settle down."
Faria threw 23 pitches in the first, then became a model of efficiency, needing just seven pitches in the second and sixth innings, 10 in the fourth, and 20 each in the third and fifth.
At one point Faria looked up into the stands to see fiancee Jessica Soto offering high-fives. Those were well deserved, as was the praise offered by Rays manager Kevin Cash.
"The way he just threw strikes overall, that was the biggest thing," Cash said. "He showed zero fear of attacking and getting outs in the zone. And that's a big ask for a young guy to come in and come get some of these hitters out. But you gotta prove and establish that you're willing to get them out in the zone, not looking for a chase every single time they're going to swing, and he did that.
"I was just really impressed with the fastball command and not altering his approach, because he's at a different level now. That's kind of what he's been all year in Durham."
Added White Sox manager Rick Renteria: "Their guy did a nice job keeping us off balance with that little changeup or split."
At 23 years, 312 days old, Faria ranked as the youngest right-handed pitcher to make his Major League debut for the Rays as a starter since Chris Archer on June 20, 2013.
The Rays' No. 9-ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, came into the game on a roll from Triple-A Durham, where he was 6-1 with a 3.07 ERA and leading the International League with 84 strikeouts. He received an ample amount of advice ahead of time to stay who he was on the mound, and he managed to pull it off.
"I think it was just take a deep breath, realize it's still baseball, just do what I can do to throw strikes," Faria said. "...Let them do with it what they're going to do. ... When it comes down to it, it's the same game. You have to execute. You have to mix it up. If you do that, you'll be successful."
And the now 1-0 Faria indeed found success Wednesday night.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.