On Monday, Blake Snell threw six impressive innings en route to the Tampa Bay Rays eighth win of the season, 5-1, on the south side of Chicago.
The Rays bats swarmed early, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings against right-hander Carlos Rodon, who previously allowed just two earned runs total in his first two starts.
In the first inning, Yandy Diaz singled to right-field, Tommy Pham walked — extending his on-base streak to 43 games — and Daniel Robertson hit a single to right, loading the bases. After Avisail Garcia went down swinging on a 93 mph fastball on the inside corner, Guillermo Heredia walked, forcing home the game’s first run. Ji-Man Choi followed with a sacrifice-fly that Adam Engel ran down in left-center, preventing an extra-base hit.
Then in the second inning, Willy Adames led off with a double to left-field before he was wild-pitched into third base. Pham walked for the second time in as many innings, and Robertson followed with a perfectly executed safety squeeze bunt for an RBI hit, extending the lead and moving Pham up 90 feet.
After Robertson and Pham swiped second and third (respectively), the Pham came home on a Garcia’s RBI base hit for a four-run advantage.
Yet while Tampa Bay had chances to add on more, the team left a lot of chicken on the bone — stranding 13 men on base (.188 BA wRISP), despite collecting 11 hits and eight walks. Suffice it to say, it made for a frustrating 5-1 win.
Be that as it may, the Rays were able to tack on one last run against reliever Carson Fulmer in the eighth inning on a bases-loaded walk to Austin Meadows, capping the scoring. On the bright side, they have scored four or more runs in five of their last seven games — inching their runs per game (RPG) average up to four after starting the season with 2.75.
Snell allowed just a single run on six hits across the first six frames. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out 11.
Snell fanned five of the first six batters he faced and didn’t allow a runner beyond second base until the fifth inning when he gave up a two-out homer to left to Jose Rondon.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner got in trouble in the sixth inning, nevertheless, Mr. .083 BA wRISP did not break. Snell allowed a double to Leury Garcia to start the inning and an infield hit to Tim Anderson that glanced off of Snell’s glove, putting runners at the corners. However, the southpaw buckled down and struck out Jose Abreu, Welington Castillo, and Yoan Moncada to keep the lead intact.
Snell has now struck out 24 batters in his last two starts, the most he’s ever had in back-to-back outings. Snell coaxed 24 swings and misses, after a career-high 25 in his last start.
Hunter Wood, who was recalled from Durham, followed Snell and threw three scoreless innings, for his first big league save. Wood struck out three, allowing just three hits.
It was awesome. I was grateful to get the opportunity to go in, and kind of hopefully prove myself. I want to be here and I want to help this team out any way I can. … I know the bullpen was kind of running low so it was really big to step up and save the bullpen for a day.— Hunter Wood
The New What Next
The Rays look to win their fourth series in a row on Tuesday afternoon with Charlie Morton (1-0, 1.64 ERA) on the mound. He’ll pitch opposite of Ervin Santana (2018, 0-1, 8.03 ERA).
Charlie Morton is looking for his third consecutive quality start as a member of the Rays. In two starts this season, the right-hander has struck out 14 batters across 11 innings and has a 1.64 ERA. In two career outings against the White Sox (totaling 12-2/3 innings of work), Morton has been good, going 2-0 with a respectable 3.55 ERA.
Ervin Santana, who the White Sox signed to a minor league deal, only made two Cactus League appearances in his extended Spring, and in doing so he gave up six runs on 12 hits across nine innings. Given his late start, he’s remained in Arizona to keep working to get ready for when the White Sox would need a fifth starter. Santana relies primarily on his 83 mph slider, a whiffy 91 mph four-seam fastball with natural sink, and an 85 mph changeup with slight cut action and a lot of backspin, while also mixing in a 91 mph sinker. Santana is 7-7 with a 5.31 ERA across his career against the Rays. Key Matchups: Avisail Garcia (7-27, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB), Mike Zunino (3-6, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB)
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 4/9/19 Starting Lineup
- Meadows LF
- Pham DH
- Choi 1B
- Lowe 2B
- Diaz 3B
- Kiermaier CF
- Garcia RF
- Perez C
- Adames SS
- Morton RHP
— Willy Adames collected three hits and is 6-for-11 since his 1-for-27 start. Yandy Diaz has hits in nine of his 10 games played.
— Rays manager Kevin Cash said both Brandon Lowe, who tweaked an ankle running the bases, and Yandy Diaz, who hit his head diving back into second, were fine.
— According to Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) … Tommy Pham walked in the first inning to extend his team-record streak of reaching base to 43 games, crossing the halfway point to Ted Williams’ 1949 record of 84.
— Tampa Bay has given up two runs or fewer in nine of the team’s 11 games, and have allowed just 20 runs total. Yet, of the 20 runs, 11 have come via the long ball. The bullpen overall has allowed just 10 runs across 44 innings.