Shane McClanahan is a Florida native, pitched for USF in college, and now is trying to continue to stay the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff.
Sugar Shane is one of the top strikeout leaders in the American League, and he credits his changeup, something that he’s been working on since last season for his success.
“That was the focus last year,” McClanahan said. “It’s just hard making midseason adjustments. I went into the offseason knowing that I had a lot of things to work on. Improve on. I got back with (pitching coach Kyle) Snyder, after the lockout and we went from there. He made some adjustments, and it’s been having success so far.”
McClanahan can hit 100 miles per hour, along with a wicked slider, but it’s the offspeed that makes him one of the toughest starters in the league. Rays skipper Kevin Cash knows McClanahan has special talent but hold off on anointing him Cy Young, just yet.
“Find the consistency,” Cash said. “All great pitchers, they do something elite, and they repeat it over and over. I think it’s where Shane is certainly headed in that direction.”
McClanahan came up to the bigs in the 2020 playoffs, pitching in 4 postseason games. He’s the first pitcher to ever debut in the MLB postseason without ever having pitched in a regular-season MLB game. For McClanahan, it’s a perfect spot, and he and his teammates know the Rays are a never say die kind of club.
“It’s kind of a running joke,” Mcclanahan said. “We don’t die. You can’t kill us, we will always scrap and fight, even if we come up short, we’re still going out kicking.”
McClanahan was given the opportunity to attend Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena in Tampa for the Lightning vs Maple Leafs game.
McClanahan told the Rays that he wanted to do something other than just cheer. They suggested he push the button to fire up the Tesla coils to start the game. McClanahan said he was nervous, more jumpy than when he pitches, but he loved it.
“It was definitely cool,” McClanahan said. It took me out of my comfort zone. It was awesome. It’s a great experience to have them let me do that. I was very grateful. it was a great atmosphere and I kinda want that atmosphere to trickle over here.”