After winning three consecutive games for the first time this season, the Tampa Bay Rays seek their first series sweep this afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. For context, the Rays collected just two series sweeps in 2017. Tampa Bay is coming off a 10–1 shellacking, marking the best offensive output by the team this (young) season.
The Rays hit three home runs yesterday, their most in a game this year. Prior to Cron’s two homers — Daniel Robertson hit the third — Tampa Bay had gone homerless for 21 innings.
From 0-2 to oh no. pic.twitter.com/fxGKdOie4i
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 21, 2018
Meanwhile, Blake Snell collected his third consecutive win. Snell could have let a first inning run shake him, however, he locked it in from that point on and attacked the zone. The southpaw hurled seven superb innings (the longest start for a Rays starter this season) and allowed just one run on five scattered hits and no walks. He struck out six.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 22, 2018
Snell told Neil Solondz (Rays Radio) that he was proud to not allow a walk in the game, and that consistency, like he’s attained his past few starts, is his goal.
Yonny Chirinos (0–1, 2.70) will get the start for the Rays this afternoon, pitching opposite of Phil Hughes (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
This will be the right-hander’sofficially first start since he was named to the starting rotation, joining Chris Archer, Blake Snell and Jake Faria.
Rays skipper Kevin Cash said he is confident that Chirinos has been built up enough to throw 100-pitches or so:
I just think where he got built up with his pitch count, he’s comfortable now that he can provide right around that 100-pitch count, Cash said. We’ve been going back and forth with it. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to build these guys up. … I think we’re in a better spot now with Yonny in the rotation. Right now, we’ve got him penciled in to pitch every fifth day for us when that spot comes up.
Chirinos did not allow a run in his first three outings (14-1/3 innings), but he allowed six in 5-2/3 innings his last time out, against Texas.
I started off well, and that bad outing, all you can do is learn from it, Chirinos said, through Rays interpreter Manny Navarro. I’m going to come out there prepared and hope for the best in my next start, then just learn from it. And always stay positive.
Phil Hughes will come off the DL to make his first start of the season — his first start since May of last year, as he was recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome.
You can read about the series in our preview.
Rays 4/22/18 Starting Lineup
The #Rays lineup for today with Yonny Chirinos starting: