Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora understood there was more to Brayan Bello’s major league debut than just his final pitching line.
Bello produced mixed results Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park when the hard-throwing right-hander appeared on a big-league mound for the first time in his career.
Bello lasted just four innings, allowing four runs and six hits while striking out two and walking three to get handed the loss in a 7-1 defeat for the Red Sox. But Cora didn’t put too much stock in the final numbers and was pleased with what he saw out of Boston’s top pitching prospect.
“You can see it, the stuff, obviously,” Cora said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “He needs to keep getting better, keep working on a few things. Like I said yesterday, either seven innings no runs, three innings seven runs, we still love the kid, we like the kid and we know what he means to this organization.”
The 23-year-old showcased his terrific arsenal of pitches, with his fastball sitting in the upper 90s while topping out at 98 mph.
Despite his strong pitching repertoire, Bello didn’t have great command against the Rays lineup. He threw 43% of his 79 pitches for balls. Cora said he didn’t think Bello was trying to do too much on the mound, while Bello added that nerves didn’t play a factor in his outing even with a ton of attention paid to the highly-touted pitcher.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” Bello said through an interpreter, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Just trying to be a little bit too much, selective, and that’s not who I am. I like to be aggressive, so I think that was a key.”
While the results weren’t what he wanted, Bello still had a fleeting chance here and there to soak up the moment that will happen only once in his career.
And while there’s only one big-league debut, Bello certainly expects to be back on a mound in the majors in the future.
“It was a unique experience. I was very happy to be out there,” Bello said. “Every pitch, every batter was a great emotion for me to be out there, and it’s not going to be the last time that I’m going to be out there.”
Here are more notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— The Red Sox have struggled against the American League East this season, dropping all eight series versus divisional foes this season. Boston is just 9-18 against the rest of the AL East.
“Obviously disappointed that this is the way we’ve been playing in the division,” Cora said. “But we know we can hang with them, we play can better baseball and we got to start winning games.”
— It wasn’t just Bello making an important start Wednesday. Red Sox ace Chris Sale made another rehab start, this time with Triple-A Worcester, and the 33-year-old lefty wasn’t his sharpest, either. Sale needed 72 pitches to get through 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run and three hits while striking out five and walking five.
— Christian Vázquez threw out Taylor Walls trying to steal second base, and the Red Sox catcher has now nabbed 12 base stealers on the season.
— The Red Sox welcome in another AL East foe with the New York Yankees coming to Fenway Park on Thursday for the start of a four-game series. First pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can catch the game, plus an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.