Rays keep winning as Snell returns to form

by Gary Shelton on April 3, 2019 · 0 comments

in Alabama, general

Blake Snell was back in form Tuesday./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

You recognize the lanky walk to the mound. You recognize the steel in his glare. You recognize the ball exploding out of his hand.

Yeah, that's Blake Snell, all right.

And, Blake? It's good to see you again.

After a wobbly Opening-Day start, Snell was in Cy Young form again Tuesday night, allowing two hits over seven innings as the Rays won their fifth straight game, 4-0 over the Colorado Rockies.

Snell tied his career high for strikeouts with 13, as he stopped the Rockies. He had allowed three home run balls in his first start, but was rarely threatened Tuesday.

“It was really impressive," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "I think a little bit of the benefit of Blake being extra motivated to come out and wasn’t pleased with whatever sequence, but he mixed all of his pitches today. I guess a lineup that doesn’t see him very often, sometimes you’re going to see that.

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Wilmer Font threw two shutout innings./STEVEN MUNCIE

"He’s got such electric stuff it really challenges opposing lineups, but he was outstanding. He was efficient even though he picked up a lot of strikeouts – I’m not sure how many, but a lot of them — and got us through the 7th which was huge because our bullpen wasn’t in the best shape coming into the game.”

Reliever Wilmer Font threw two shutout innings to finish the game.

“We’ve seen him (Snell) now have a lot of sharp games," Cash said. "That was a really crisp game. It seemed like he was commanding all of them. He broke his slider out obviously and the changeup much more than we saw against the Astros and I would imagine he’s going to say he’s much more pleased with his sequencing tonight than he was against Houston.”

Snell was pleased, too.

"I was just happy I was using my pitches very good," Snell said. "I was happy with the mix. I was throwing everything — that was my gameplan going in. Just throwing everything and make it look like a strike. I’m happy with it. I’m happy me and (Mike Zunino) got in rhythm pretty quickly. It got to a point in like the 6th inning where we were just kind of laughing at each other. It was really good today. I was happy with that. Some good plays. Us getting a lead early, which was huge. It allowed me to settle in pretty quickly. It’s always easier to pitch with a lead, so for them do that is awesome. It was a good day"

Snell admitted he had extra motivation after his opening-day defeat.

“You could say yeah because I did badly last outing, but I was just happy I learned from the last outing," Snell said. "I felt like Opening Day I was very focused, I just didn’t mix as well as I did today. I’m just very happy with the mix and very happy I trusted myself and [Mike] Zunino and made it work.”

Snell said a good pitch mix is important.

“You can’t sit on any of those four different pitches," he said. "You don’t know what’s coming and I can be a lot more effective that way. To be able to do that and be in the zone – I mean I started off with a lot of 3-2 counts and that’s when I got into it and we started to get 1-2, 0-2 counts and putting them away and it started to become a lot more fun. I’m happy with the way I was mixing the pitches and happy I went with what I said I was going to do.”

Rockies'manager Bud Black was impressed, too.

"I thought it was a pretty impressive outing," Black said. "The stuff probably above average across the board on a scouting scale. Then when you’re able to throw the curveball behind in the count, the changeup behind in the count and land them for strikes is really impressive. There were a number of full count pitches the curveball, and it’s a legit curveball, 3-2 changeups, and here’s a guy throwing 96-97 miles per hour. I mean he really kept us off balance. He pitched with really good stuff and you saw the results of a well-pitched game.

Guillermo Heredia had the big hit of the night, a two-run single in the first. Christian Arroyo also knocked in a run with a single.

Tommy Pham has now reached base in 38 straight games, one behind Johnny Damon.

The Rays go for the sweep today against Colorado, facing them in a 1:10 p.m. game at Tropicana Field.  Charlie Morton pitches for the Rays against Colorado's German Marquez.

 

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