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Rays’ Shane McClanahan adds to his remarkable run

Notes | Saturday’s dazzling outing gives lefty from USF a 10-start streak unmatched in American League history.
Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan gets through seven innings in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader in Toronto.
Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan gets through seven innings in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader in Toronto. [ JON BLACKER | AP ]
Published Jul. 2|Updated Jul. 3

TORONTO — Shane McClanahan insists he’s just doing his thing game by game, not paying attention to talk about making the All-Star team or specifics of his remarkable season to this point.

That’s okay. After his latest dominant outing in Saturday’s opener, allowing one run and three hits over seven innings while striking out 10 Blue Jays, there were plenty of words and numbers coming from elsewhere.

“He’s a stud,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s doing it against a team that doesn’t strike out very much. Just so impressed the way ‘Mac’ goes about his business, just stays locked in. It felt like he probably got a little bit better as the game went on.”

After allowing hits to two of the first three hitters leading to a Jays run, McClanahan retired 10 straight and 20 of 22 overall, striking out five of his last six, sticking to a plan to “compete in the zone” and trust the defense that he praises often.

“Everybody saw it,” catcher Rene Pinto said. “That guy is amazing. I’m just going to keep watching what he’s doing.”

McClanahan improved to 9-3, 1.74, reclaimed the major-league strikeout lead with 133 and continued a remarkable run of consistently good outings, now 10 straight of six or more innings with at least seven strikeouts and two or fewer earned runs.

That is the longest such streak over a single season in American League history, and the longest in the majors since Randy Johnson had 14 in a row for Arizona in 1999. Pedro Martinez had a streak of 14 for Boston over the 1999-2000 seasons, with seven in each.

McClanahan also became the first pitcher, since at least 1901 (if not ever), to have allowed 19 or fewer earned runs and stuck out 133 or more batters in his first 16 starts.

McClanahan insists he doesn’t look at his body of work that way.

“I take each start for what it is, and that’s a new day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you do in the past, it’s all about what you do today. And I try and flush the bad starts, the good starts and just focus on the task at hand and that’s today.”

Pitching plans in flux, again

Shane Baz will start Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays, as the Rays sort through options for the first two games of the three-game set at Boston that starts with Monday’s holiday matinee. Lefty Jeffrey Springs, who missed Thursday’s start due to a family medical emergency, could return to start one of the games; the other could be handled with a call-up from Triple-A (Josh Fleming?) or a bullpen day.

Corey Kluber is in line to start Wednesday. Baz will take the mound with the standard four days of rest coming off a Tuesday start when he threw 95 pitches, his most since 2019 at Class A. Neither the coaches nor Baz feel it will be a limiting factor. “I don’t think it should,” Baz said. “Threw my bullpen (Friday and) felt good. So yeah, just kind of treating it like another start at this point. I guess we’ll see. But definitely felt good to get stretched out in a game like that.”

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Reliever David McKay was optioned to Triple-A after a rough Rays debut Friday. Dusten Knight, who was in Toronto on the taxi squad, was added to the active roster, and also optioned after a rough Saturday outing. The net result was having room on the 26-man roster for Drew Rasmussen, who had been activated off the injured list and added as the 27th man Saturday. ... Cristofer Ogando, a 28-year-old who was 1-1, 3.01 at Durham, was added to the taxi squad Saturday. ... The Rays and Jays played two games Saturday as part of the rescheduling of the April 4-6 series that was wiped out due to the lockout and labor settlement delaying the season. The result was the 36th doubleheader in Rays history, with a 7-14-15 record. The teams also will play five games during a Sept. 12-15 visit.

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