Jacob Faria has had an excellent start to his major league career, but the Tampa Bay Rays rookie is not satisfied. After his most recent start, Faria has revamped his delivery.
After dominating at Durham to start the year, the majors did not appear to be a problem for Jacob Faria. He became the first pitcher since Masahiro Tanaka to have a quality start in each of his first seven outings, cruising to a 4-0 record, along with a 2.00 ERA and a 0.978 WHiP in his first 45 innings. Faria was exactly what the Rays needed in their rotation.
Then came his outing on July 19. Facing the relatively punchless Athletics, Faria looked overmatched. He allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in his five innings, with his command having deserted him. For the first time since he came to Tampa Bay, Faria looked like a rookie.
Even the best pitchers in the game can have that one bad outing occasionally. Even the greats, like Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale, do not have a quality start every time out. It would be understandable if Faria just chalked that outing up to not having his stuff and moved on, confident that he would take care of business the next time out.
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Instead, Faria worked on his delivery, recalibrating it, as he said. He noted that his time playing catch felt cleaner, and he was excited over his bullpen between starts. Hopefully, that positive experience will carry over from these side sessions and produce results in today’s game.
The Rays certainly need Faria to be at the form he displayed in his first seven starts. Tampa Bay has now lost five in a row, falling behind the retooled Yankees and the hard charging Royals. Although the Rays push to contention this year may have been unexpected, they are looking to make the most of their run through the first three and a half months of the season.
While one start will not make or break the season, the Rays have a lot riding Faria this time out. They did, after all, tweak the rotation to give him the first start coming out of the All Star Break. Now, the Rays need Faria to be a stopper, ending this losing streak and getting the team back on track. Based on Faria’s work since his last start, that may well happen.
Jacob Faria is not content, and is looking to get back to his dominant ways. The Tampa Bay Rays are hoping he can do just that later today.