PORT CHARLOTTE — Much like the rest of his spring thus far, Shane McClanahan’s outing against the Red Sox Wednesday night was impressive yet inconsistent.

McClanahan, 23, started the Rays’ 3-1 loss against Boston, but only went 1 1/3 innings.

Tampa Bay drafted the left-hander in the first round out of USF in 2018 and has high hopes for the hard-throwing Cape Coral native.

“His stuff, it’s like (reliever Jose) Alvarado’s,” manager Kevin Cash said on Wednesday afternoon. “You don’t see many 98-mile-an-hour fastballs with just unhittable breaking balls when he lands them right in the zone, and that’s kind of what we’ve seen out of him.

“So (there’s) a lot to be excited to be about with him.”

McClanahan had a solid first full season in the minors in 2019, posting an 11-6 record with a 3.36 ERA in 22 starts (and 24 appearances) spread over three minor league stops, including Port Charlotte.

He joined the Stone Crabs on June 8 and and went 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA, while striking out 59 in 49 1/3 innings before being promoted to Double-A Montgomery on Aug. 4.

His performance in 2018 earned him an invitation to big-league camp. But he got off to slow start this spring, posting a 0-1 record with a 15.43 ERA, allowing eight earned runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings heading into Wednesday night.

His first two outings were rough as he allowed four earned runs in an inning against the Yankees on Feb. 23. Three days later, he surrender four runs again, this time over two-thirds of an inning as he took the loss to the Twins.

But he settled down after that, striking out eight over three one-inning appearances.

“He has been very, very impressive,” Cash said. “After his first two outings it seemed like he totally corrected some things and got his command and has felt more confident on the mound and it showed with his results.”

But it was more of the same against the Red Sox Wednesday.

He had an erratic, but scoreless first inning in which his fastball consistently clocked in the mid-to-upper 90s. He walked a batter and allowed a runner, Rafael Devers, to reach third, but ultimately induced a grounder from Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the inning.

“The guys behind me played really good. (Third baseman) Yandy (Diaz) made a great dive (on a potential double play ball),” McClanahan said after his outing. “(There were) a lot of good plays behind me. I ultimately put up zeroes, but I owe a lot to that defense.”

McClanahan started off the second with a 0-2 count to Jonathan Lucroy before allowing a leadoff single to the catcher. He went to 2-2 on Jose Peraza, then struck out the shortstop on an offspeed pitch. And that was it as he yielded to reliever Aaron Loup.

McClanahan’s final line was a mediocre two hits, a walk and a strikeout over 1 1/3 innings, but he hit 99 on the radar gun four times and even touched 100.

“I don’t measure success by velocity,” he said. “A 100 is cool, but it doesn’t matter if it’s not in the zone. (I have to) just ultimately work on it and just get back out there and focus on what I’m trying to do.

“I was just a little amped up tonight. I’m going to get back down to earth next time.”


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