A closer look at Montgomery’s solid debut

Lefty Jordan Montgomery made his major league debut Wednesday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays and while he didn’t factor in the decision, there were many positives during his outing. Mainly, his seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work so let’s look at those first.

As you can see Montgomery used his slider to get hitters to chase strike three. He had six swinging strikeouts, one called.

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Courtesy of Statcast™

Montgomery got to 3-2 on two players (in three at-bats): Evan Longoria walked in his first at-bat and struck out in the fifth while Daniel Robertson walked in the fourth inning. Those were the only walks of the game for Montgomery.

He also gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Rickie Weeks. Jr. on a two-seam fastball, low in the zone in the bottom of the first inning but came right back and got Corey Dickerson to ground out to end the inning and limit the damage.

Another thing you’ll notice about Montgomery is that he has a lot of pitches and he likes to use them. On Wednesday, he didn’t favor one pitch over all of the others. His output was pretty even overall but he did use the slider to his advantage when going for a strikeout.

Courtesy of Statcast™

Courtesy of Statcast™

Montgomery’s battery mate for the day, Kyle Higashioka, who also made his first start in the majors on Wednesday, told reporters, “I noticed especially last year catching him in [Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre], he always takes it to another level when he’s in a little bit of trouble.”

In the fifth inning when Steven Souza Jr. led off with a double and Montgomery followed it by striking out both Kevin Kiermaier and Longoria before he was taken out of the game.

His final line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7K.

He threw 89 pitches and 61 of them were for strikes.

After the game, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said, “He looks like someone who can help us for quite some time.”

Montgomery was picked as the fifth starter by Joe Girardi thanks to his incredible spring training numbers. He seemingly came out of nowhere to beat out guys like Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell and Chad Green. On Wednesday afternoon, Montgomery showed everyone that he deserved the honor.

Photo: Adam Hunger / USATSI

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