Rays pitchers continue to dominate opponents

by Gary Shelton on August 22, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Snell won his 15th game of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Snell won his 15th game of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

In previous seasons he was a talented mystery, a pitcher whose production didn’t match his talent.

And he grew. He became the ace of his staff. He became an all-star. He became an anchor.

And now?

You could make an argument that few players, if any, can match Blake Snell’s dominance on the pitching mound.

Snell led the Rays to a 4-1 victory Tuesday night, holding the Kansas City Royals to four hits and one run trough six innings. The Rays have now given up just one run over their last three games and had a 27-inning scoreless streak snapped  on a fifth-inning home run by Ryan O’Hearn in the fifth inning.

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Adames, diving back to first, has been hot at the plate./JEFFREY S. KING

Adames, diving back to first, has been hot at the plate./JEFFREY S. KING

The Rays have pitched to a 1.89 ERA (95-IP, 20-ER) in their last 11 games since Aug 10, which includes 7 games of 1 run or fewer

Tampa Bay is now 65-61, the latest they have been four games over .500 since the 2013 season.

For Snell, it was his 15th win of the season. He has a 2.07 ERA.  He has allowed  one

Kolarek gave up two hits but no runs in his inning./JEFFREY S. KING

Kolarek gave up two hits but no runs in his inning./JEFFREY S. KING

earned run or fewer in 13 consecutive home starts since September 12 of 2017 against the Yankees, the longest such streak in the majors since 1913— when earned runs were officially kept in both leagues. According to Stats LLC, he is the second pitcher in the live ball era (since 1920) with at least 160 SO and fewer than 35 runs allowed through 24 starts, joining STL Bob Gibson in 1968.

“Blake did his thing and got his punch-outs,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “I was impressed. That probably wasn’t the way we drew it up to get him that deep pitch-count wise, but the way it lined up, and the way he was throwing the ball, it was just another dominant performance on his part.”

Snell, who had been on a pitch count because of shoulder fatigue, threw 101 pitches in his six innings of work.

Smith rounds third to score a Rays' run./JEFFREY S. KING

Smith rounds third to score a Rays' run./JEFFREY S. KING

“It felt good to get deep into the game,”  Snell said. “I wish I would have thrown more. There were a lot of misses that were competitive that I was frustrated with, but the guys are swinging so I was happy to have the run support. They were on base every inning it seemed. For them, it was a big game to get it going in the right direction and I was definitely excited about that. Excited about the win.

“This is a really good team and I really think we are starting to play how we should. We have a couple more games against KC and then Boston. Let’s try to make this a good homestand going on the road.”

Tampa Bay had 14 hits, including three each by Willy Adames and Tommy Pham. Adames hit a home run off the catwalk. Pham dislocated a finger and is listed as day to day.

Mallex Smith, C.J. Cron and Michael Perez all had two hits.

Romo recorded his 17th save./JEFFREY S. KING

Romo recorded his 17th save./JEFFREY S. KING

“As far as Tommy Pham goes, I think he is day-to-day,” Cash said. “He avoided a pretty big scare. I haven’t talked to him since he came off the  field, but it sounds like it might be a day-to-day thing.”

The Rays pitching continues to excel.

“That’s awesome, and we’re doing it with a bunch of young pitchers,” Cash said of the record-tying streak. “I have no idea when [the franchise] did it last, but the guys we’re asking to do this ... it’s been a huge team effort, starter effort, bullpen effort, opener effort (laughs). It’s pretty rewarding to hear that.”

Said Snell: “That’s a good run. This pitching staff is very, very talented and for them to do that, I’m not surprised. I’m really not surprised. These guys can pitch. They come, they compete, they work every day. I feel comfortable with all of them coming in after I’m done throwing. It’s a talented group in that bullpen as well as our two starters.”

The Rays try to win their third game of this series tonight at 7:10 p.m. Ryne Stanek for the Rays will pitch against Jakob Junis.

Wendle slides in with a two-run triple./JEFFREY S. KING

Wendle slides in with a two-run triple./JEFFREY S. KING

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