Snell dominates as Rays batter Boston again

by Gary Shelton on August 27, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Snell won the 16th game of his stellar year./JEFFREY S. KING

Snell won the 16th game of his stellar year./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 4 a.m.

There are times, when he unleashes his fastball, and the batter begins his swing as the ball hits the catcher's mitt, that you shake your head.

Snell has been tough at home./CARMEN MANDATO

Snell has been tough at home./CARMEN MANDATO

There are times, when his curveball makes a hitter look foolish, biting and diving through the strike zone, that you wonder.

Blake Snell throws, and you think.

Has Tampa Bay ever seen a pitcher perform like this?

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Duffy had three hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Duffy had three hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Snell was amazing again Sunday, throwing six innings of two-hit baseball as the Rays won again, 9-1. It was the team's eighth straight win and left them nine games above .500. It also completed the first multi-team sweep of a home stand in team history.

Credit that to Snell, who is now 16-5 and sneaking into the Cy Young Award conversation. Snell has now allowed one earned run or fewer in 14 straight home games. Against the Red Sox, baseball's best team,

Wendle continued to play well for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Wendle continued to play well for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Snell was 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA this season. No other pitcher in baseball has a sub-4.00 ERA against Boston this year.

“I thought he had great stuff," said manager Kevin Cash. "Big power to his fastball that he was able to challenge guys with if he fell behind, and wipe-out off-speed stuff. Obviously when you’re playing against a Red Sox lineup and you have success against them, that’s going to help. But there are a lot of good pitchers out there, that’s probably best for me not to debate. Let you guys do that.”

Well, let's start by comparing this season to David Price's Cy Young-winning season of 2012. That year, Price, at 26, was 20-5, which is better than Snells. But Snell, at 25, has an ERA that is much lower (2.05 to 2.56). He's allowing batters to hit .182 instead of Price's .226. Price threw more innings, but Snell's strikeouts per

Choi had two hits for teh Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Choi had two hits for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

nine innings (10.36) is better than Price's 8.74.

In other words, Snell has been dominant enough that the presenters shouldn't blush if they have to hand him the Cy Young Award.

Also, making a team like the Red Sox look ordinary is fun.

“By sweeping them, we showed a lot," Snell said. "We are a good team. When we are clicking, we’re scary. I think the combination of how good our defense is, how good our pitching is, bullpen, starters. And then with us swinging it the way we are swinging it. I haven’t seen the team play that well in a while, so for us to do it against Kansas City and then Boston. Best team in the league right now. To be able to do that to them, it says a lot about our team. I’m excited. I’m excited to be in this clubhouse with these guys. To see them compete every day is a lot of fun.”

Could Cash be a manager of the year candidate?./JEFFREY S. KING

Could Cash be a manager of the year candidate?./JEFFREY S. KING

Said infielder Matt Duffy: “I almost have to tell myself to wake up over there because he’s so good I feel like I don’t even have to do much. I’m just kind of chilling over there. I have a really good seat for the game and multiple times when he pitches I’m like, ‘Hey, wake up, the ball might come your way if they make contact with it.’

The last three games were among the Rays' finest for the season. They outscored Boston 24-5, and outhit them 33-21.

"They’re playing great baseball," said Boston manager Alex Cora. "They play great here. They’ve done this to some good teams. It was a bad weekend in Tampa."

Duffy had three hits for the Rays, and Joey Wendle, Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham all had two. The Rays scored two times in the first and three more in the third to break it open.

“It’s good to be excited about doing what we did this home stand, but good teams find ways to do this more often than not," Cash said. "I think we’re a good team. I know we’re a good team. And we continue to trend that way.”

Kiermaier had a two-run triple for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Kiermaier had a two-run triple for Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Snell said you can see the confidence grow.

“I want to say we are surprised," Snell said. "We know we are good. We know we
are young and have a lot to prove. I think there’s a comfort in here that
it feels really good and we don’t really think about who we are playing. We just have fun. It’s cool. I was thinking about it the other day. Once the game starts, everybody is locked in and to be able to see that and be a part of it, it’s definitely fun to be a Ray right now.”

Added Duffy: “I think that our offense has been a little deeper. A lot of guys doing a good job putting the barrel on the ball and tough outs. And I think that’s kind of at the beginning of the season what we envisioned, but it’s coming together nicely here.”

The challenges continue for the Rays, who open a two-game series against Atlanta on Tuesday night then continue to Cleveland. Both are first-place teams.

Ryan Stanek will open for the Rays at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night He will face Julio Teheran.


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