Rival prospects Osleivis Basabe and Wade Meckler are expected to go head to head for a second consecutive night when the Tampa Bay Rays and host San Francisco Giants continue their three-game interleague series on Tuesday.
Playing in just his second big-league game, the Rays‘ Basabe opened the scoring in Tampa Bay’s 10-2 triumph on Monday with a two-run single in the fourth inning.
The 22-year-old shortstop from Venezuela was promoted from Triple-A Durham in time for the Sunday game when the Rays got word that star Wander Franco would be away from the team indefinitely while he is the subject of a Major League Baseball investigation.
The Rays moved Franco, 22, to the restricted list after social media posts emerged Sunday that called into question his relationship with a younger woman, according to multiple media reports.
In Basabe’s debut on Sunday, he stepped right in and lashed the first pitch he saw from Cleveland’s Tanner Bibee for a double. He then scored on Yandy’s Diaz’s single in Tampa Bay’s 9-2 loss to the visiting Guardians. Basabe later struck out and grounded out.
Basabe was penciled in at shortstop once again on Monday and contributed his key single to an 18-hit assault.
“(Basabe) did some nice things (Sunday),” said Erik Neander, the Rays‘ president of baseball operations. “We like him. We’re not afraid to give him the opportunity. And that’s where we were right now.”
It didn’t take such a dramatic occurrence to convince the Giants it was time to promote Meckler. A 2022 eighth-round draft pick, the outfielder rocketed through the minor leagues this year, batting .379 in 69 games, until earning his first shot at the bigs on Monday.
Batting second in the lineup, he went 0-for-3 with a walk, including striking out with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh as the Giants trailed 6-1. His parents were in attendance.
“Obviously when I got drafted last year, I wasn’t expecting to be here (this soon), but I was expecting to hit,” Meckler said. “I was kinda just setting the standard high for myself and keeping myself accountable every day, and that’s what got me here.”
The 23-year-old’s promotion was just the fourth this season for a member of the 2022 draft class. The other three were all made by the Los Angeles Angels.
While Basabe can expect to see a variety of Giants relievers for the second straight game in another bullpen night, led by right-hander Jakob Junis, Meckler figures to get his initial cracks at a pitcher with whom many other Giants are very familiar — right-hander Zack Littell (2-3, 4.10 ERA).
The 27-year-old went 7-3 with a 3.82 ERA in 102 games, including two starts, for the Giants over the previous two seasons. He signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers in February, was purchased by the Boston Red Sox in May, and then was claimed off waivers by the Rays a week later.
He has made 50 appearances at Oracle Park in his six-year career, but never as a Giants opponent.
After coming out of the bullpen in 11 of his first 14 appearances for the Rays, Littell has made three straight starts, going 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA over that stretch.
The loss came in his most recent start, a 5-2 defeat against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, when he allowed three runs in a season-high-tying six innings.
That Giants announced late Monday night that Junis (3-3, 4.36 ERA) would make the start on Tuesday.
It will be just his second start in 32 appearances this season. In the first one, on July 31, he pitched three shutout innings against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks in a game the Giants eventually lost 4-3 in 11 innings.
Junis has made seven appearances, including five starts, against the Rays, all while he was with the Kansas City Royals. He is 4-1 with a 3.48 ERA against Tampa Bay.
—Field Level Media
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