Rays play down to the Mets’ level in loss

by Gary Shelton on September 23, 2020

in general

Snell struggled in his latest start./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

The best weapon the New York Mets had going against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night, it turns out, was mediocrity.

The Mets just aren't very good.

Which puts the Rays exactly where the Mets want them.

The running-in-place Mets, 25-30 on the season and in fourth place in the NL East, dominated the Rays in a 5-2 victory Tuesday night. Seth Lugo (Seth Lugo?) allowed only four hits through 6 1/3 innings and denied the Rays a chance to clinch the American League East.

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It isn't the first time the Rays have played own to their competition this season. Against good pitchers (such as Jacob deGrom on Monday night), the Rays are superb. But against the meek, they struggle. They're 21-9 against teams currently over .50 and 15-11 against teams at .500 or under. They've now played 15 straight against teams at .500 or under, and they're 8-7.

It also raised further concerns over whether the Rays will be able to score enough to advance deep into the playoffs.

"It was pretty tough," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "Give Lugo a lot of credit. He really commanded his fastball. He threw just enough good curveballs to keep you honest. He had his way with the fastball. We did’t get any type of rhythm going offensively.

“The last three games we’ve been pitched tough. When you have pitching like that generally you’re not going to piece much together. Certainly, we would like to bounce back and see if we can get some life to our offense. It has been quiet. The strikeouts have been high. Give credit to the guys who are pitching. I’m pretty confident we’re going to be fine, but there is no doubt it's frustrating. We’re not putting any pressure on the opposing pitcher. “

Blake Snell didn't offer much forgiveness. Snell gave up six hits and three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up two homers (he has now given up 10 on the season in 11 starts).

"He kind of had to battle," Cash said. "He didn’t pitch bad. I don’t think he was as sharp as he would have liked. He kind of battled through it. He gave up two homers. The ball that Robbie Cano hit out..that’s probably why Cano is going to the Hall of Fame one day. You don’t see many guys do that. Then (Pete) Alonso got hold of one. It looked like it was down. I think Blake was trying to get it up. That’s not the worst thing that his pitch count got to where it was."

Snell wasn't buying it.

“I’ve just got to do a better job," Snell said. The walks are annoying. I have to do a better job — stop walking people, attack the zone better."

The Rays play the Mets again tonight at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field. Tyler Glasnow will start for the Rays against Michael Wacha.

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