Snell solid as Rays capture win No. 89

by Gary Shelton on September 30, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Blake Snell exhales during another solid outing./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sunday, 4 a.m.

For the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday was all about Sunday. Think of it as a preamble to the final steps in a team's journey.

Blake Snell pumps his fist in Rays' win./STEVEN MUNCIE

The Rays put themselves in position to win 90 games with a 4-3 victory over Toronto.

Blake Snell put himself in position for further discussions of the Cy Young Award.

Austin Matthews put himself in position to compete to be one of the team's middle-of-the-lineup sluggers for next year.

Who would argue with Blake Snell's season?/STEVEN MUNCIE

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Cron celebrates his homer with base coach Matt Quatraro./STEVEN MUNCIE

CJ Cron put himself in position for the front office to give further consideration to bring him back. He finished off a 30-home run season.

Meadows watches the ball go into the stands./STEVEN MUNCIE

And everyone else? They put themselves in position to leave the dugout today with a smile after they stopped a skid that had seen them lose six of their previous nine games by winning 4-2 over the Blue Jays.

Snell is generally considered the man to beat in the Cy Young award voting, but lately, there has been a backlash because of a relatively low number of innings pitched. Here's a question: Does anyone remember who led the league in innings pitched last year? The year before? It's not ordinarily thought to be a crucial stat along the lines of ERA and batting average against. But if you're a voter looking for a way to knock Snell, it's really all that is out there.

Adames slides into second base for Rays./STEVEN MUNCIE

Snell was shaky by his standards, giving up a run on three walks and an infield single in the first inning. However, he shut out the Blue Jays on two hits and a walk afterward.

“I feel like I put up a good case," Snell said. "They are going to pick who they pick. I don’t have a say. The work that I did put together I feel like it’s a good case to have.

“Consistency," Snell said when asked what his best asset was this year. "That’s the truth. The consistency everyday ... I was very happy with it. I didn’t feel like there was any game where I wasn’t feeling the same as every start. Every start felt really good and I was really happy with that.

Pham had a hit for Tampa Bay./STEVEN MUNCIE

"All the pitches were usually there for the most part. Curveball continued to get better. Slider got a lot better. Faced a lot of lineups with a lot of righties to where I felt like changeup/curveball was better. Allowed me to throw the slider more to righties and get more comfortable with it. That’s something I’m looking forward to do in spring. Just having all four pitches against everyone at anytime to where they can’t guess. But I’d just say consistency.”

Rays' manager Kevin Cash said that Snell had his vote.

“You want to see all the guys continue to develop, but I don’t think you could ever expect or anticipate any type of progress that Blake has made," Cash said. "Obviously he has set the standard, but we get the pleasure of watching him day in and day out. Watching the work, watching the way he has transitioned, the way he works in between his starts, his routine

Lowe can't come up with the ball./STEVEN MUNCIE

and the mindset he takes every fifth day. That’s been the pleasure. The results are great and that’s exciting, but to watch him develop as a pitcher, a competitor, a teammate, all of those things have really stood out.

"Hopefully, he gets the Cy Young award. He had a 1.89 ERA in the AL, with the designated hitter. There's really not much debate in my opinion.

Cash also liked seeing Cron's 30th homer.

“That was awesome, and to do it on a 3-0 count," Cash said. "We’ve kind of messed with C.J. throughout the year about getting aggressive in 3-0

Castillo. was impressive in relief./STEVEN MUNCIE

situations simply because he has the power that can generate it and if he times it up right, it’s going to go a long way and he did it. He did it oppo. I’m glad he got it out of the way the first at-bat so he didn’t have to put a bunch of pressure on himself the rest of the game and potentially tomorrow.”

Conversely, it was Meadows' first home run with the Rays.

"It was needed, really needed at that point," Cash said. "It was an impressive swing. He showed that tonight."

The Rays play their final game of the season today at 3:10 p.m. Ryne Stanek starts for the Rays against Toronto's Sam Gaviglio.

Romo recorded his 25th save./STEVEN MUNCIE

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