In a statistic-obsessed sport, less is often more for pitchers. That's certainly been the case with Brendan McKay, who continued his dominating run on the mound in his Triple-A pitching debut. Tampa Bay's No. 3 prospect allowed three baserunners and struck out four over five scoreless innings as Durham rolled past Louisville,
In a statistic-obsessed sport, less is often more for pitchers. That's certainly been the case with Brendan McKay, who continued his dominating run on the mound in his Triple-A pitching debut.
Tampa Bay's No. 3 prospect allowed three baserunners and struck out four over five scoreless innings as Durham rolled past Louisville, 18-3, on Tuesday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. McKay allowed three singles -- only one left the infield -- and didn't issue a walk while throwing 39 of 65 pitches for strikes.
McKay (1-0) was given plenty of offensive support, particularly from Christian Arroyo who reached safely six times and tied his career high by going 5-for-5 with a personal-best seven RBIs.
McKay struck out two of the first three batters he faced and set down eight straight before Sherman Johnson beat out an infield single with two outs in the third inning. The 23-year-old worked around a single by Brian O'Grady in the fourth and a leadoff single by Aristides Aquino in the fifth, the latter of which prompted a mound visit from Bulls pitching coach Rick Knapp. McKay responded by fanning Blake Trahan and getting Juan Graterol to ground into an inning-ending double play to cap his inaugual International League outing.
MLB.com's No. 29 overall prospect made his International League debut as Durham's designated hitter Sunday. He went 0-for-4.
Gameday box score
McKay's promotion from Double-A Montgomery was a matter of when, not if. The southpaw mowed through the Southern League and left as the circuit leader in strikeouts (62), ERA (1.30), WHIP (0.82) and opponents' average (.172). He earned run in his last five appearances spanning 28 innings.
Drafted fourth overall in 2017, the multi-position athlete hasn't had quite as much success at the plate. Through 399 career at-bats, McKay has compiled a .208/.338/.328 slash line with 10 homers and 70 RBIs. On the mound, the Louisville product has gone 10-2 with a 1.92 ERA, an 0.83 WHIP and 190 strikeouts in 145 innings.
Arroyo hit a grand slam, doubled three times and walked during his first five-hit game since June 30, 2015 with Class A Advanced San Jose in the Giants' organization. The 23-year-old is batting .500 with three homers and 15 RBIs over his last nine games, lifting his average 91 points to .325.
Louisville's José López (2-4) was charged with seven runs on eight hits and four walks with five strikeouts in five innings. The 25-year-old right-hander has surrendered 15 runs over his last two starts.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.