Monday, 5:30 a.m.
When it comes to the Tampa Bay Rays, only one question remains.
Will it get better?
The Tampa Bay Rays, mired in the AL East celler despite a four-game losing streak, will go into today's trade deadline hoping to make next season better. And perhaps they'll pull it off. But otherwise, pitcher Blake Snell and catcher Luke Maile provide a bit of hope.
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Snell and Maile, rookies who combined at Durham earlier in the season, combined to help the Rays pull off a sweep of the Yankees Sunday afternoon. It was the team's fourth-straight win, tying their season high.
Snell went 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs. Technically, it was the team's first game in 11 that wasn't a quality start, but Snell pitched well behind three double-plays. Alex Colome had his 25th save.
Maile singled on the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded in the sixth. He had been two-for-24 before that at bat.
Snell said he liked working with Maile.
“I’ve known him a long time,” Snell said. “Him and me get on the same page pretty quick. Especially today, I was throwing a bunch of balls in the dirt. I’ll go in the dirt the whole game, I know he’s going to block it.”
Maile singled in Steven Souza Jr. and Kevin Kiermaier to provide the winning margin.
“Obviously, it’s a great feeling helping the team win. Defense is obviously something I take a lot of pride in, but anytime the offense clicks, it’s a good feeling,” Maile said. “(Snell) fell behind a lot of counts, but he made up for it with a lot of good changeups. When he got guys with two strikes, very rarely did he make uncompetitive pitches. He threw good breaking balls with full counts, 2-2, especially the left-handed guys. He is a really good pitcher. If he throws something near the plate, it stays on the plate, he is able to get back in counts pretty easily.”
The Rays played good defense (three double plays), got good starting pitching and good closing (Alex Colome's 25th save) in the sweep.
“We’re starting to see a trend, when you pitch well and play good defense you give yourself a chance to win consecutive ballgames,” Cash said.
The Rays are home against Kansas City tonight. Chris Archer starts for the Rays.