Monday, November 20, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays journal: Lack of fastball command dooms Blake Snell against Twins

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ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell didn't have his usual fastball Wednesday, which led to three early deficits for the Rays in a 10-6 loss to the Twins.

The Rays climbed out of all three, but then ran out of gas after tying the score at 6 in the fifth inning on Kevin Kiermaier's two-run homer off the front of the Touch Tank to the right of centerfield.

Snell said his inability to command his fastball led to him falling behind in counts. He allowed six runs on seven hits — two of them home runs. He left after allowing singles to the first two batters he faced in the fifth.

Snell had pitched at least six innings in each of his previous five starts. He allowed just three runs in his previous three starts.

"For the most part, I felt pretty good," he said. "Just (didn't) execute how I have been. I was pretty upset with that."

Guess he is human

RHP Steve Cishek's run of 20 scoreless outings — 18 since being traded to the Rays — ended thanks to a throwing error in the seventh.

After walking the Twins' Brian Dozier to start the inning, Cishek fielded a bunt by Jorge Polanco and threw the ball past 1B Lucas Duda and into the rightfield bullpen. Dozier scored to give the Twins a 7-6 lead, and Polanco ended up on third. Cishek allowed another run on a single by Eduardo Escobar before giving way to RHP Austin Pruitt.

Cishek's scoreless streak began July 25 when he was with Seattle. His 18 scoreless outings with the Rays were two shy of the team record 20, set by Joe Borowski in 2005.

Travel plans up in the air

The Rays fly to Boston this afternoon for a weekend series with their scheduled return Sunday night in question due to Hurricane Irma.

With a series against the Yankees set to open Monday night at the Trop, the Rays are in discussions with MLB over several options based on the storm's impact on the bay area, including playing the games in New York or a neutral site (Baltimore seems most likely), or flying back to Tampa on Monday and playing a doubleheader Tuesday and the series finale Wednesday.

A decision is expected by Friday. The Rays also are allowing players and traveling staff to bring their families on the flight to Boston so they don't have to worry about them dealing with the storm.

Archer to start Friday

The tightness in RHP Chris Archer's right forearm responded so well to treatment that he lobbied to start Friday in Boston as scheduled.

Archer, knowing how cautious the team is with injured pitchers, said he didn't think the training staff would agree.

"But they did, and I am happy, because I'm fully capable of going out there Friday, especially with the day off," he said.

RHP Matt Andriese is scheduled to start Saturday. Sunday's starter is still in question. RHP Alex Cobb is lined up to pitch Sunday, but the Rays are listing TBA since he has a small cut or blister on his finger that might benefit from an extra day's rest. If Cobb doesn't start, RHP Jake Odorizzi will.

Miscellany

• Wednesday's game drew 7,185, the third-smallest crowd for a Rays game at the Trop. Preparations for Hurricane Irma might have played a role.

Evan Longoria snapped a 123 at-bat homerless streak with a solo shot in the first. It was his first home run since Aug. 1 when he hit for the cycle in Houston.

• The Rays have homered in 17 consecutive games, tying a franchise record.

• LHP Xavier Cedeno (left forearm tightness) and RHP Nate Eovaldi (Tommy John) pitched simulated games Wednesday. Both could return this season.

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