In his first appearance since being recalled from the minors, Jose Alvarado threw the third immaculate inning in Tampa Bay Rays history.
There is nothing quite like the immaculate inning. Nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts. It is pure dominance as a pitcher, the inning where no one on the opposition can touch your stuff. Yesterday, Tampa Bay Rays lefty Jose Alvarado threw the third immaculate inning in franchise history, joining Rafael Soriano and Brad Boxberger in that exclusive club.
It was certainly not a performance that one saw coming. The 22 year old rookie had posted a 5.89 ERA and struck out only 14 batters in his 18.1 innings prior to being sent to Durham at the end of June. Although eight of those strikeouts came in his final six outings, Alvarado also allowed seven runs on ten hits and three walks in those 4.1 innings.
After nearly two months in the minors, Alvarado returned to the majors last night. Coming into the game with the Rays trailing 2-0 in the top of the ninth, the hope was that he would be able to keep Tampa Bay in the game. He did far more than that, striking out Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar, and Hernan Perez with just nine pitches.
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For a Rays team that is in desperate need of a reliable left handed option in the bullpen, Alvarado’s outing is quite encouraging. While he certainly will not be perfect every time out, this type of outing can be just what he needs to gain the confidence he needs to be that key bullpen arm.
For Alvarado, this shows the type of reliever he can be if he throws strikes. Over his minor league career, he has struck out 260 batters in 227 innings, showing impressive swing and miss stuff. However, Alvarado has also issued 147 walks, with his lack of command being the piece that keeps him from being as dominant as he could be. Even though the Brewers are a free swinging team, it is possible that the outing shows a refined approach on the mound.
Jose Alvarado could be a devastating reliever if he throws strikes. Last night showed exactly what the Tampa Bay Rays could have.