Rays position player had fun striking out Vladimir Guerrero Jr., "I was scared"

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Tuesday's game in St. Petersburg was well out of reach, with the Blue Jays leading 10-1 after seven innings. So in an effort to save the bullpen, the Rays sent first baseman Luke Raley to the mound for the top of the eighth.

Raley admitted he wasn't looking forward to the experience. As per Keegan Matheson of MLB.com. he said:

"I was scared. Yeah, it's not my favorite place to be. I've told them before that I got rocked in high school, so I can't imagine what these guys would actually do to me if I tried to pitch. So, just try to lob it over the plate and save our bullpen."

A beginners guide on how to strike out a two-time All-Star

What followed was something no one would have predicted, as Raley stuck out Vladmir Guerrero Jr. with a curveball going all of 50 mph. It was a rare highlight for the Rays and their fans on the night.

Raley was understandably delighted with being able to strike out the 2021 home run leader. He said:

"I was just smiling because I struck out Vlad, honestly. That's something I can honestly say I never thought I would do. "

Even Guerrero Jr. and his teammates were able to see the funny side of it. As per Matheson, Blue Jays manager John Schneider said:

"We were all laughing. It’s hard to do against a guy throwing 40-whatever. You kind of take it for what it’s worth. The fact that he was laughing, I loved it, and we were all kind of laughing."

Reality literally hits hard

Raley managed to get through the eighth allowing just the one run. He then got the first two outs in the final inning and suddenly he was one out away from what would have been an extremely impressive performance for a non-pitcher.

However, any illusion the former Dodger could actually help the bullpen in the future was soon dismissed. And at the heart of this was Guerrero Jr., looking for 'revenge' after his previous at-bat.

The 2021 Silver Slugger came to the plate with the bases loaded. He didn't dare let himself get struck out again and he duly belted a grand-slam home run, to increase the visitors' lead to 15-1.

Renewed admiration and an unforgettable career highlight

Raley became even more appreciative of what pitchers have to contend with on the mound. He said:

"Everyone, you might think it's fun to be out there. But it's scary at the same time. I'm not a pitcher. I can leave the ball over the plate, and those guys hit the ball really hard and it can get back to the pitcher's mound real quick. So I don't envy pitchers in general, and I don't envy myself being out there."

When it was all said and done, Raley's pitching line didn't make for pretty reading. He allowed eight hits and seven earned runs in 1.2 innings of action.

However, the 28-year-old also had his strikeout against Guerrero Jr. and that's something no one can ever take away from him. It's not often a player gets to come out of a 20-1 loss with a moment that will make them smile every time they think about it.