Rays demote pitcher Blake Snell after loss

by Gary Shelton on May 14, 2017 · 2 comments

in general

Blake Snell will try to find himself in the minors./Steven Muncie

Blake Snell will try to find himself in the minors./Steven Muncie

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Stardom will have to wait for Blake Snell.

The Tampa Bay Rays put Snell's future on hold Saturday afternoon when they demoted him to AAA, shortly after he lost another game, this one by 6-3 to the Red Sox. Snell is 0-4 on the season (with a 4.71 ERA) and 6-12 as a big league pitcher. He was constantly getting himself into trouble by falling behind hitters.

Even worse, Snell seemed not to quite grasp his situation. In his last start, asked to evaluate his performance, Snell said it was “interesting.”

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Snell failed to hold leads twice against Boston Saturday. He gave up six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

It isn't rare for a pitcher to struggle in his first big-league assignment. However,

Snell wasn't quite ready for prime time./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Snell wasn't quite ready for prime time./JEFFREY S. KING

the Rays always hope that once a player is promoted to the major leagues, he sticks. Certainly, considering the hype Snell got before his arrival, that was the wish.

"I believe in myself a lot," Snell said before hearing of his demotion. "I'm aware of what I'm doing, and I need to be better. I know I can. So, it's frustrating that I'm not doing what I know I can do."

Snell, a former minor league pitcher of the year, threw a season high 113 pitches Saturday.

To be fair, Snell didn't have much of a shot at winning against the Red Sox, who rode pitcher Chris Sale to victory. Sale gave up three hits in his effort. The Rays struck out 16 times.

Still, Tampa Bay was able to lead 1-0 on a homer by Logan Morrison and 3-2 on another one by Kevin Kiermaier. It didn't last, however. The Rays lead the league in offensive strikeouts with 400.

“A lot of the same,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash of Snell's performance. “I think the 2-0, the 3-1, the falling behind really hurt him. When you're falling behind to these types of hitters in this lineup, they're going to get you.

His first five or six hits, they were all for extra bases.

“I don't think anyone is disputing at all Blakes's stuff. He's got very good stuff. We've got to find a way to corral it into the zone.”

The Rays can hardly afford to wait. They fell three games under .500 with the loss (18-21).

Tampa Bay plays Boston again today, with Matt Andriese pitching for the Rays against Drew Pomeranz.

Kiermaier's homer gave the Rays a 3-2 lead./JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier's homer gave the Rays a 3-2 lead./JEFFREY S. KING

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller May 14, 2017 at 6:23 am

This was the right move and I applaud the Rays for making it. No team, not even the Rays can have a guy in their starting rotation that is going to lose for them every 5 days. This is hugely disappointing for all especially Snell personally I’m sure. Let’s see if he can make this bump in the road a positive and take this opportunity to work on his control and command issues and become a better pitcher on the other side. I don’t know if he is a head case or just not that articulate but some of his comments made wonder if he really gets it. Maybe the light will finally go on once the shock of this move wears off. I hope for his sake and the Rays it does.

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Gary Shelton May 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Well said. I’ve interviewed Snell several times, and I’ve walked away mystified by some of his responses. But I don’t think he’s a bad kid. If he takes this the right way, he could be fine. We’ll see.

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