Brand new Snell leads Rays past Cubs

by Gary Shelton on September 21, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Snell is unbeaten in his last 10 starts./CARMEN MANDATO

Snell is unbeaten in his last 10 starts./CARMEN MANDATO

Thursday, 3 a.m.

He looks the same. He's still tall, still left-handed, still elbows and knees. He's still young.

He sounds the same. He still has that slow speech, that pronounced drawl.

But there is a difference to Blake Snell. There is a different air, a different confidence to his bearing. He seems smarter, wiser, more in control.

Dare we say it? These days, Blake Snell looks all grown up.

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Souza celebrates his 30th home run./CARMEN MANDATO

Souza celebrates his 30th home run./CARMEN MANDATO

Snell was superb again Wednesday night, shutting down the World Champion Chicago Cubs in an 8-1 victory. Snell allowed only two hits, and no runs, in seven innings of work.

It has become a regular sight on the Rays. Snell hasn't allowed an earned run in three of his last six starts. He's won four straight starts, and he's unbeaten in his last 10.

Ramos singles in the seventh./CARMEN MANDATO

Ramos singles in the seventh./CARMEN MANDATO

“I want to see him finish strong,” said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. “I think he’s going to have two more starts if everything stays in order. Finish exactly what he’s been doing. He’s actually put together a nice run and has turned his season around. I don’t know if any of us would have thought from where he started from after getting sent down that he was going to be capable of what he’s done now, and he’s shown that he is.”

There was a time when some wondered if Snell might finish this season winless. But after his second demotion of the season, he has been sharp. In Snell's first 35 starts, he went seven innings only once. Now, he's done that in three of his last six starts.
“I’ve learned that I have to keep going,” Snell said. “You have good and bad. You just have to keep learning and keep making adjustments that you need to. I like the confidence that I had and I just kept believing in my stuff.”

Kiermaier singles in the second inning./CARMEN MANDATO

Kiermaier singles in the second inning./CARMEN MANDATO

The Rays had 10 hits and eight runs against the Cubs a night after being one hit in a 2-1 loss. Included in the assault was Steven Souza Jr.'s 30th home run.

“It was awesome,” Souza said. “To hit 30 homers in a season, I’m super thankful. Thank God for allowing me to play a full, healthy season and everybody behind me that hit all year. It’s an awesome feeling.”

But Souza added that the Rays can play small ball, too.

“We have a pretty athletic team so we are capable of doing things like that,” Souza said. “Today was a night where we could take advantage of it and we did.”

The Rays also scored on a safety squeeze play when Peter Bourjas got down a bunt.

“It was perfectly done,” said Cubs' manager Joe Maddon, a proponent of the squeeze. “We were ready for it but the bunt was so perfect. That’s (Don Zimmer) right there, man... But they ran it right, everything was in place and Bourjos is such a good bunter. We knew it was coming but you can’t stop it sometimes.”

The Rays finished the season 2-2 against the World Champion Cubs.
Tampa Bay now travels to Baltimore for a four-game set against the Orioles. The teams play at 7:05 tonight at Camden Yards. Matt Andriese pitches against Gabriel Ynoa.

Almost 50,000 fans showed up to see the Cubs play the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Almost 50,000 fans showed up to see the Cubs play the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Martin September 21, 2017 at 5:02 am

What a turnaround by Snell. Glad to see the good guys win and send the Chicago-to-TB transplants home with a laugher-loss. Maybe Mr Archer noticed how you quiet down the opponent fans in your home park as well.

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Gary Shelton September 21, 2017 at 10:12 am

To be fair, Snell had eight runs of support. Archer had one hit.

I think Archer should be better, too. But he would have had to throw a shutout to win.

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