Snell finally puts a game together for Tampa Bay

by Gary Shelton on July 1, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Snell finally won a game for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 3 a.m.

A winning streak?


The surging (?) Tampa Bay Rays have won consecutive ballgames for the first time since June 9-10 against Boston and Oakland after Sunday's 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers. The Rays are now 5-8 over their last 13 games and were 13-16 in the month of June. The Rays now have a two-game lead on the Rangers in the wild-card race.

Just as important, as streaks go, was that Blake Snell now has one in a row. It was only his second win in his last 10 starts. Snell struck out 12 (11 on fastballs) and allowed just three hits in his six innings of work.

It would have been nice for manager Kevin Cash to see up close. However, he was tossed for the ninth time in his career for arguing  balls and strikes. Cash has now been thrown out as many times as the fiery Lou Piniella was with the Rays.

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Diaz had three doubles for the Rays./CHUCK MULLER

“It was a big at-bat at the time," Cash said. "I thought (Avisaíl García) worked really hard to get to a 3-1 count. You like to see the player get rewarded and he did not. Both calls could have gone either way. Bruce Dreckman does a tremendous job as an umpire, we just didn’t see eye-to-eye and that’s part of it.”

Cash did appreciate Snell's performance, however.

“He looked really good," Cash said. "He did a lot of things, very similar to what he’s been doing, just a little bit better command and location to those pitches. The best that I could see from watching on TV was that the fastball, instead of being in the zone late, it crept out of the zone for chase. The breaking ball that was not landing early on, was landing and then he made some really quality pitches. The one pitch, I’m not sure if it was a breaking ball or a slider, the home run to (Joey) Gallo, the curveball that was the one pitch that he left in the zone. Really encouraged by Blake’s outing. We needed it and he needed it just as much.”

The Rays improved to 15-7-2 in series play with the victory.

“We talk about goals in the season," Cash said. "You want to win as many series as possible. It’s really difficult to sweep series, but if you can keep yourself to where you are in a position to win a series as many times as possible, you are going to end being a really good team. We think we are a really good team and we got back to doing that this weekend.”

Snell said the difference was small in his effort.

“You could say consistency," Snell said. "I felt really good last start, so the results are better this start so I guess you could say that, but I felt really good last start and I felt really good this start. I want to attack with the fastball. When they are swinging dictates, I should do something different and I’ll do that. It’s been what I’ve been doing.”

Snell said he's been better this season than last, when he won the Cy Young.

“Everything," Snell said. "Consistency, swing-and-miss, strikes, less walks, weak contact, everything. The only thing that’s bad is ERA and the length that I’m going in starts so I need to get better with that.”

Tampa Bay's offense was paced by Yandy Diaz, who had three doubles. Willy Adames stayed hot with a double to drive in a run.  Adames is hitting .318 over his last six games. He's driven in a run in five of those.

“That’s how we are," Adames said. "We are good and we showed it at the beginning of the season, we just had a little tough couple games. I know we can hit. For me to see the guys doing really good again, that’s the momentum that we need and that’s the kind of timing that we need. That’s the timing we had at the beginning of the season and that’s why we were so good.”

The Rays will start Ryan Stanek against Baltimore (7:05 p.m.) at Tropicana Field.  The Orioles will start Dylan Bundy.

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