By the glisten in Mike Shawaryn’s eyes and the grin on his face, you wouldn’t be able to tell the Red Sox just put together an uninspiring performance against a division rival.
Boston mustered only one run in front of a Friday night crowd. The 5-1 loss snapped a four-game winning streak. Yet here was Shawaryn smiling.
But he had good reason — Shawaryn had just made his major league debut.
“We couldn’t get the W, but I am definitely going to cherish this moment for the rest of my life,” he said.
Shawaryn replaced Josh Taylor at the top of the eighth. Over two innings, Shawaryn allowed one hit — a home run — while striking out four and allowing zero base on balls.
He struck out the second batter he faced, and Brock Holt caught the other two outs to give Shawaryn a fairly clean first major league inning.
Shawaryn said it was nice to get the first strikeout early.
“At the end of the day, you are just kind of collecting outs, but strikeouts are always great,” he said.
Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier kept Shawaryn’s debut from pure perfection, however. Kiermaier sent a fly ball to right-center field on an 0-2 count.
Then Shawaryn struck out the next three batters to give the Red Sox a chance to respond in the bottom of the ninth.
“It was pretty special, just being in the park, let alone with all the history and all of the greats that have come through and pitched on that mound first and foremost was amazing,” Shawaryn said. “Then to be able to go out there and pitch on it was probably my top moment in my life so far.”
A moment for which he had to wait for quite a while.
Shawaryn, 24, joined the Red Sox on May 30 but didn’t pitch until Friday. That meant watching and waiting, then more watching and more waiting. He didn’t know when he would actually pitch for Boston.
“Each day posed an opportunity for me to get a little bit better, so I just kept working on stuff, kept working on stuff,” Shawaryn said. “I knew whenever my name was called, I would be ready to go more than anything.”
But even when his name was called, he wasn’t sure. That phone call, he said, provided some jitters.
“Then you get on the mound, and it almost calms you down,” he said. “It is what you have been doing since you were a little kid. It’s time to just trust your stuff and go out there and see if you can do it.”
And his mom, dad, and sister traveled to the game to see it.
“I know they were probably freaking out up in the stands,” he said.
Shawaryn was too, on the inside at least. Not only did he have a chance to make his major league debut, but he can also now move forward and find ways to improve and take his game to the next level.
No wonder, in an otherwise quiet, emotionless clubhouse, that he couldn’t stop smiling.