Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rookie Snell takes step back as Rays rocked by Blue Jays

Blake Snell has a major hiccup in his 11th major-league start, allowing five runs, including a three-run homer, and getting pulled in the second inning after walking three straight Blue Jays.

Getty Images

Blake Snell has a major hiccup in his 11th major-league start, allowing five runs, including a three-run homer, and getting pulled in the second inning after walking three straight Blue Jays.

TORONTO — It wasn't all Blake Snell's fault.

If Steven Souza Jr. hadn't inexplicably botched the foul fly ball that allowed the Blue Jays to extend the first inning and score three runs, the game might have unfolded differently.

Same if the Rays batters had been able to do more than rap four meager hits against Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who cruised through six innings for his majors-leading 16th win.

But the rookie left-hander Snell was pretty bad, the primary culprit in an ugly 7-0 loss Wednesday that knocked the Rays back to 46-67.

After 10 increasingly impressive starts, Snell turned in a stinker.

"That probably, that is the first time we've really seen him struggle," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "There were a lot of things that took place we hadn't seen."

Snell failed to get through the second inning while throwing 68 pitches.

He allowed five runs, including a three-run homer by Troy Tulowitzki, though only two were earned.

He walked four, matching his season high, including his last three to force in a run.

He balked.

And he blanked out, allowing B.J. now Melvin Upton to swipe third uncontested.

Cash suggested that the charged environment, with 45,501 Rogers Centre fans in full roar and a touted opposing team, might have contributed to Snell being overamped.

"He had the stuff going, it was lack of command and location with his pitches," Cash said. "I think this atmosphere could have brought out a little extra energy that maybe he hasn't felt, and maybe trying to control himself might have been a little bit difficult."

Snell wasn't as sure that was the cause, saying it seemed to him more a matter of not being aggressive enough. "Maybe I just wasn't attacking the zone like I should," he said. "I was giving them too much credit."

He also suggested that umpire Clint Fagan's strike zone was a little tight, as well as his balk call (for a head nod) incorrect. Of more concern, Snell hinted that he might have tipped the slider Tulowitzki launched.

While it's impossible to say how the first inning would have gone, it certainly would have been different if Souza, continuing to turn his job into an adventure, had caught Josh Donaldson's foul ball in right with one on.

Souza saw it, tracked it, ran to the right spot to get under it … and watched it hit off his glove. Donaldson took advantage of his new life with a single, and Snell then got the next two out, but Tulowitzki hit the homer.

Souza didn't have much of an excuse.

"I dropped it," he said. "I had to run a long way, but the ball's got to be caught. Sometimes when you run a little too hard the ball bounces when your head starts moving. Bottom line, it's a routine play. It's a minor-league play that needs to be made."

What Snell and Cash totally agreed on is that he will turn the bad night into a good lesson.

"I'm definitely going to learn from it, and I'm definitely going to get better," Snell said. "You're going to have those games. It's something that's going to make me a lot better. … I'm already really excited for my next outing."

Rookie Snell takes step back as Rays rocked by Blue Jays 08/10/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 11:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.