Orioles left-hander Tanner Scott introduced himself to the majors with his fastball hitting 100 mph and his slider missing bats during his big league debut Wednesday night.
The Boston Red Sox, in turn, introduced him to what a big league lineup can do with velocity like his.
Scott allowed a pair of runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in a laborious eighth inning during the Orioles’ 9-0 loss, with the possibility that the runs could have been avoided had he covered first base in time for a possible 3-6-1 double play.
“As advertised," manager Buck Showalter said. "About like I thought it would be. The slider has come a long way for him. … His presentation was good. He didn’t always show it. He’s always been that type of guy. That’s what’s intriguing about him.
"You talk about the huge jump in pitching that you see here, you also face a lot better hitters. The strength factor comes into play a lot more. They fist some balls out over there and don’t try to do too much and get big. That’s why the slider’s going to be a big pitch as he goes forward.”
The highly-touted left-hander spent the entire season at Double-A Bowie pitching in three-inning outings as a starter to preserve his power arm and give him more opportunities to work on his off-speed pitches.
On many fronts, the experiment worked. He had a 2.22 ERA in 24 starts (69 innings) with a 1.32 WHIP, his lowest in any of his professional seasons. He maintained a strikeout rate of 11.35 per nine innings and lowered his walk rate from last season by over two per nine, down to six this season.
Wednesday was certainly mixed on that front. He left a 98-mph fastball over the plate to leadoff hitter Sam Travis, who poked it the other way to right field for a single. After Deven Marrero swung and missed at three straight sliders for Scott’s first big league strikeout, catcher Sandy Leon walked on six pitches to put two on and one out.
Scott quickly got a potential double-play ball from Jackie Bradley Jr., but after first baseman Chris Davis threw to second base, Scott didn’t cover first base in time for the return throw. Another walk loaded the bases for second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who also stuck his bat out to hit a two-run double to right field.
After Scott got through the 28-pitch inning, Showalter lamented that it wasn't a better situation for him, though he's glad he got to see Scott react to it.
"I’m glad that we had an opportunity that he could get out there," he said. "I wish that first guy wouldn’t have broke his bat to right field. It might have created a little less anxiety for him.”