Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rain cuts short impressive start by Rays rookie Snell (w/video)

CHICAGO — LHP Blake Snell was hoping to put a good finish on his rookie season Wednesday, but the weather didn't cooperate in a 1-0 loss to the White Sox.

After a 21-minute delay at the start due to rain, the game was stopped with two outs in the bottom of the third, with the 1:16 delay ending Snell's night.

He pitched well, retiring the first five, allowing one hit and one walk and striking out four while throwing 42 pitches. He finished his first season in the majors 6-8, 3.54 in 19 starts with 98 Ks in 89 innings.

"I felt really good today, probably about the best I've felt arm-wise and body-wise,'' Snell said. "So I wished it didn't rain and seen what would have happened. Just one of those days I guess."

Manager Kevin Cash said once the delay stretched past 20 minutes or so, they decided Snell would not return the mound.

Snell, who made an April cameo and was called up to stay in June, said he was pleased overall with his debut season.

"I thought it was a good learning year,'' he said. "I learned a lot from it. I'm just happy that I had an open mind. ... I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge from the time I came up to now."

Cash said they liked what they saw.

"We're probably more excited about Blake now than we were when (he made) his first start up here," he said before the game. "We've seen him grow a little bit. We've seen him struggle, which we anticipated. He's handled the bulk of those struggles. And he's still continuing to evolve into a really good young starting pitcher."

The lone run scored in the seventh, when Todd Frazier homered off knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa.

"We were ahead in the count, I was feeling pretty good about it,'' Gamboa said. "He beat me with my best pitch. Live and die with it, those things are going to happen. Giving up the first one in the show.''

The Rays had only three hits, and their batters saw just four pitches in the seventh inning, as RHP Miguel Gonzalez came back after the rain delay to work a season-high 8 1/3 innings.

The Rays have lost six straight and nine of 10 in dropping to 65-93. They have not held a lead for 40 innings, and were shut out for the 10th time this season.

FIVE-YEAR FLASHBACK: Wednesday was the anniversary of the thrilling and historic Game 162 of the 2011 season, when the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Yankees, moments after the Red Sox lost in Baltimore, on Evan Longoria's 12th-inning walkoff homer to complete a comeback from 9 games out to win the AL wild card. "Wasn't that the greatest night in baseball?" bench coach Tom Foley said. "That was crazy."

REWARD: As a reward for his hard work in rehabbing from May 2015 Tommy John elbow surgery, RHP Chase Whitley gets to start Sunday's season finale at Texas. LHP Drew Smyly (7-12, 4.88) had been scheduled. "I think (Whitley's) deserving of it," Cash said. "He's had a long road back. … We didn't have starts for him when he came back just because of the amount of starters." Whitley worked 32/3, throwing 62 pitches, Tuesday in his fourth relief outing, having made nine starts in the minors.

MISCELLANY: The Rays are 13-27 in one-run games. ... CF Kevin Kiermaier returned to the lineup after missing two games due to soreness in his left hand after being hit by a pitch Sunday, but when 0-for-4. … INF/OF Nick Franklin was the DH, his second start since straining his left hamstring Sept. 15, goign 0-for-3. … OF Mikie Mahtook continues to raise funds with other LSU products to help victims of the Baton Rouge flooding; see braf.org/pitchin. … Venezuelan INF Juriel Querecuto was up until 3 a.m. responding to texts, calls and social media posts after getting his first big-league hit Tuesday, the first Ray to do so with a triple. … First-pitch temperature was 57 degrees.

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