Rays top Marlins despite McClanahan's late scratch

Ace lefty, pulled before win over Miami, will have MRI on left shoulder impingement

August 31st, 2022

MIAMI -- The Rays went into Tuesday night’s game against the Marlins counting on ace left-hander continuing his terrific season.

Instead, McClanahan was scratched with a left shoulder impingement after warming up in the bullpen.

All of a sudden, it was a bullpen day for the Rays, with pressed into service as the surprise starter. Save for that, it was business as usual for Tampa Bay -- at least when it comes to playing the Marlins.

The Rays had a 5-0 lead through the fifth en route to a 7-2 win at loanDepot park as they continued to dominate this cross-state rivalry. Tampa Bay has won 18 of the past 20 meetings -- including the first three this season -- and has taken the Citrus Series 11 times in 15 seasons since 2008.

The two play for the final time this season on Wednesday.

The victory was obviously overshadowed by what happened in the bullpen before the game, although the Rays are optimistic McClanahan will be fine.

McClanahan, who hopes to have an MRI on his shoulder Wednesday in South Florida, was the American League’s All-Star starter and is an AL Cy Young Award candidate. For the season, he’s 11-5 with a 2.20 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 147 1/3 innings.

“Going into the game, something just did not feel right,” McClanahan said after the game. “I couldn’t get loose, it was just something. I couldn’t put my finger on it. … We just decided to err on the side of caution, pull the plug just in case. We were just being cautious, doing the right thing.

“It was one of those freak days. Maybe I slept on it wrong, something. I trust those guys and have to keep working. I was [ticked]; I want that ball every time I can get it. We talked about not taking a risk for one or two starts. We’re pretty optimistic it’s nothing serious.”

The extent of the injury should be known following the MRI, which the team is trying to schedule in Miami. If not, McClanahan may return to the Tampa area.

“I think he is dealing with what all pitchers with 140 innings deal with,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I applaud him for going down there and getting loose and just not feeling right.

“We’re all fairly optimistic he will be fine. We had in the back of our minds we would shorten up the start anyway. … I am confident he’s going to be OK.”

Any other night, ’s terrific performance while batting ninth would have been the story.

Siri came within a triple of the third cycle in Rays history. He drove in the first run of the game with a double in the third, singled and scored in the fifth and crushed a solo homer to center in the seventh.

Siri also made a terrific catch in center, a leaping grab of Jon Berti’s shot to the wall in the sixth. In the third, Siri threw out Luke Williams trying to reach third base on Berti’s single.

It was simply a fantastic all-around game by Siri, who was left on deck in the ninth.

“I felt good today, and think I was able to do good things on the offensive side,” Siri said through interpreter Manny Navarro. “I could say I wasn’t thinking about [the cycle], but you always are. It’s actually the second time I got close to the cycle, and both times it was triples.”

Despite being without their ace, the Rays had little problem taking care of the struggling Marlins and won for the eighth time in 10 games.

Armstrong allowed three hits in three innings and left with a 2-0 lead.

“Cash told me before the game to be heads up, if something wasn’t right [with McClanahan] early on,” Armstrong said. “It’s not worth the risk right now. … I know Shane is a competitor, and you’re not going to get the ball out of his hands. That’s what makes him special, makes him the ace of the team. It’s a hiccup.

“We would rather have him in October than in a game today. His health is the most important, and he’s ultimately going to get us to the World Series. He needs rest, he needs rest.”

JT Chargois and Brooks Raley each pitched a scoreless inning. Garrett Cleavinger pitched a scoreless sixth before being touched for two runs in the seventh. Jason Adam struck out two to end the Marlins’ threat.

The Rays ended up using seven pitchers, with only Armstrong and Cleavinger (1 1/3 innings) going more than one frame.

“Tremendous job by all those guys,’’ Cash said. “It’s kind of a fire drill when something like that happens. Shawn has done a lot of good things for us, and today may have been the highlight. We were expecting two, but he was so good, we were able to get through three. That set the tone, and the rest of the bullpen was just awesome.’’