Rays’ starters have given up plenty of nothing

by Gary Shelton on April 9, 2019 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Snell has struck out 24 in his last two outings./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

The most impressive thing about the starting pitching of the Tampa Bay Rays is how difficult they make it to describe them?

Do you talk about the big three?

Is it four? Is it 4 1/2? Is it five?

Game after game in the early part of this season, the Rays' starting pitchers have delighted in sending opposing batters back to the dugout. They have been a force so far.

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Adames had three hits for the Rays./TIM WIRT

Monday, it was Blake Snell's turn. He allowed only one earned run across six innings in taking his second win of the season, a 5-1 decision of the White Sox.

"The reason we’re off to a good start ... it’s all about pitching," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "Those guys have carried a big load for us."

How ordinary was the sight?

Consider this: When Snell gave up a home run to Jose Rondon in the fifth inning, it was the only run a Rays' starter has given up in 35 innings this season. In nine of the 11 games the Rays have played, the staff has given up two runs or fewer nine times.

All of which has led the Rays to the lead in the AL East.

"To see what they're doing every day makes me want to be that much better," Snell said. "To see them succeed makes me want to succeed more. Which means you need to work harder: conditioning, watching your competition. It's addicting."

Perhaps' Snell's most impressive inning was the sixth. He gave up a double to Leury Garcia to start the inning, and Tim Anderson followed with an infield single. But Snell came back to strike out Jose Abreu, Welington Castillo and Yoan Moncada to get out of the jam.

"That’s the sign of a really good pitcher," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "When you can go out and find ways to win games with maybe not being your sharpest. It wasn’t easy. To find a way to make a big pitch or a couple of big pitches ... that’s what the really good pitchers do. And Blake's at the top."

The Rays stranded 13 base runners in the game.

A few Rays did improve their averages, however. Willie Adames had three hits to go from .118 to .184. Avi Garcia had two hits and improved from .167 yo .207. And Daniel Robertson had two hits, improving his average from .193 to .233.

Tampa Bay played small ball for most of the day. They scored when Gueilermo Heredia walked in the first with the bases loaded and when Ji-Man Choi hit a sacrifice fly to knock in Tommy Pham. They scored  two more in the second when Daniel Robertson bunted home Adames and Garcia singled in Pham. They scored their final run  in the eighth when Austin Meadows walked with the bases loaded.

The Rays play the White Sox again today at 2:10 p.m. The Rays will start Charlie Morton. The Sox have not announced a starter.


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