Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rookie Snell superb as Rays beat Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG — When Rays rookie LHP Blake Snell faced the Blue Jays for the first time last month, he was too much in awe of their lineup, and his timid performance led to an early exit and an ugly loss.

But Snell learned from his mistake, and the aggressive approach he took Saturday, combined with a nasty changeup, led to a solid six-inning outing in the Rays' 7-5 win.

"I was really happy about the way I was attacking the zone as the game went on," Snell said. "I felt more aggressive, more of a mind-set of, 'Hit it,' let's see what they can do with it. I was really, really happy about that."

Snell had not been as effective since that Aug. 10 game in Toronto, and Rays manager Kevin Cash said they had "multiple discussions" with the talented 23-year-old about pitching to his strengths and not be as concerned with the opponent.

"Drastic improvement," Cash said.

Having the changeup to work in concert with the high-octane fastball tends to make Snell more effective, and he simplified things to take advantage.

Snell allowed only one run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven, though throwing 104 pitches in the six innings. His biggest out was striking out Russell Martin to end the third with a run in and two on, and he retired his next nine batters after that.

"I was attacking, but with meaning," said Snell (5-7, 3.39). "Last game I threw, there was no meaning, there was just attacking. This time I knew what I was throwing, I knew why I was throwing it."

GAME STUFF: The Rays (58-76) broke through against usually tough RHP Marco Estrada with a five-run fifth, combining bloops and a well-executed bunt by Kevin Kiermaier with a couple of key hits. Evan Longoria knocked in the first run with a bases-loaded single, and after Brad Miller walked to put them up 2-1, Matt Duffy delivered the big hit, a bases-clearing double off the leftfield wall to make it 5-1.

"That looked like the hit of the night," Cash said.

Kiermaier added a two-run homer in the seventh to make it 7-1, and the Rays needed it. That's because Enny Romero made a big mess in the ninth, with three walks and a hit, forcing Cash to unexpectedly need closer RHP Alex Colome, who allowed two hits before getting the final out for his 30th save.

"Enny just had a rough patch,'' Cash said. "Enny knows he's got to get ahead of hitters and find ways to put them away in that type of score.''

SOUZA OUT, AGAIN: OF Steven Souza Jr. did not start for the fourth time in five games, primarily the result of Corey Dickerson and converted INF Nick Franklin, who started in right, playing better. "The guys that are in there are really producing," Cash said. "Souza is going to play. He's part of our club, there's no doubt about it. He's going to get opportunities, and a lot of them going forward."

BECKHAM UPDATE: INF Tim Beckham, sent down after Wednesday's game due to repeated baserunning mistakes, joined Triple-A Durham on Saturday at Gwinnett but did not play. The Bulls have two games left and are unlikely to make the playoffs, so a decision on his return could come Monday.

ALEX GREAT: RHP Alex Cobb woke up Saturday sore from his toes to his fingertips. He couldn't have felt better about it as the residual of his impressive return the night before from Tommy John surgery, his first big-league start in nearly two years.

"About as sore as I was expecting, but sore in all the right places, so I was pretty happy," Cobb said. "Actually the elbow itself feels great."

MISCELLANY: Though rosters can be expanded, the Rays played again with just a three-man bench, Souza plus two catchers. … Double-A Montgomery beat Tennessee 3-2 Saturday night to become the fourth Rays minor-league team to reach the playoffs, joining rookie-level Princeton, short-season Class A Hudson Valley and Class A Bowling Green. … Cash commended communications VP Rick Vaughn for his work in organizing Friday's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month event.

Comments
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

The winter meetings kick off in earnest today at Disney, and the Rays have plenty to talk about.With GM Erik Neander acknowledging the Rays are open to "anything and everything" there has been plenty of discussion about them trading some and maybe mo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria considers his future with the Rays "somewhere in limbo" based on speculation he could be traded as part of a cost-cutting and rebuilding movement."I don't know what to think, really,'' Longoria told the Tampa Ba...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?So is he."I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

The Marlins apparently found a trade to Giancarlo Stanton's liking, reportedly striking a deal early Saturday to send the slugging outfielder to the Yankees.That's bad news for the Rays and the other AL East teams, who will now have to face Stanton &...
Published: 12/09/17
Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Tampa Bay Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed was up early Saturday to meet up with the Bladerunners team in Clearwater at the ALS Association Florida Chapter's annual Ride, Run, Roll to Defeat ALS, supporting Mike Leist, a former history teacher at St...
Published: 12/09/17
Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Rays officials head to Disney for this week’s winter meetings admitting they don’t know what they’re doing. Wait — that’s not exactly right. It’s more that they don’t know what they’re going to do.Having spent months collecting info and discussing op...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17
Dwight Gooden dons Santa suit, but scene is hardly festive

Dwight Gooden dons Santa suit, but scene is hardly festive

NEW YORK — In one sense, there was nothing unusual about what Dwight Gooden was doing Tuesday night. In the spirit of the holiday season, he had been summoned to dress like Santa Claus and, as a result, was decked out in a red suit and hat, a curly w...
Published: 12/08/17

Rays sue outgoing concessionaire over "sad history" of failures

The Tampa Bay Rays sued outgoing concessionaire Centerplate in U.S. District Court on Friday, alleging the company harmed the team’s reputation, damaged its facilities and did not pay a fair share of revenue as part of a "sad history of failing to fu...
Published: 12/08/17
Ohtani makes surprising decision in picking Angels; will face Rays in July at the Trop

Ohtani makes surprising decision in picking Angels; will face Rays in July at the Trop

Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani decided on his team Friday, and it was something of a surprise as he opted to sign with the Angels.The Mariners and Padres had emerged as the favorites from the seven teams that were chosen, from the full fiel...
Published: 12/08/17
As Tampa Bay Rays head to winter meetings, they are open to “anything and everything” in terms of deals

As Tampa Bay Rays head to winter meetings, they are open to “anything and everything” in terms of deals

Tampa Bay Rays officials will head to next week's winter meetings at Disney eager to get started making moves and willing to consider just about anything – and trading anybody – that they feel makes sense."We have to be open," GM Erik Nea...
Published: 12/07/17