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Eduardo A. Encina’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Yankees game

Blake Snell seems to lack confidence in fastball; taking a much-needed break from Yankee Stadium; nothing you can do but laugh.
The Rays' Blake Snell gives the ball to manager Kevin Cash after being pulled in the first inning against the Yankees on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. [SETH WENIG   |   Associated Press]
The Rays' Blake Snell gives the ball to manager Kevin Cash after being pulled in the first inning against the Yankees on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. [SETH WENIG | Associated Press]
Published Jun. 20, 2019
Updated Jun. 20, 2019

• In detailing his frustration, the Rays’ Blake Snell said he knows he needs to establish his fastball more, and only then can he get the full benefit of his remarkable arsenal. But the way he has nibbled at the strike zone, it seems he fears hard contact with the pitch, instead of challenging hitters.

• The good news is the Rays don’t return to Yankee Stadium, where they’ve lost five of six this season, until the week after the All-Star break. That’s just before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, so maybe they won’t have made that next big acquisition just quite yet.

• There wasn’t much to laugh about after the one-sided loss, but when asked about the solid bullpen work his relievers logged, not allowing a hit from the second through sixth innings, manager Kevin Cash deadpanned that “it just proves the fact that the bullpen days work.”


  1. Finishing at, or near, the bottom of MLB in attendance isn't even the biggest problem for the Rays. It's the huge gap between where the Rays are in attendance compared to the average team. Tampa Bay is roughly 92 percent below just an average MLB crowd. [Times files (2017)]
  2. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher D.J. Snelten during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
  3. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell signs autographs for fans during spring baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 in Port Charlotte, Fla.
  4. Tampa-based sports agent B.B. Abbott, left, successfully climbs Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for pediatric cancer charities. He is pictured with friends Dustin Bertram, middle, and Pete Hendricks, who made the climb with him.
  5. Houston Astros outfielder Myles Straw points to the baseball he signed for Noah Jackson, 9, during FanFest at Minute Maid Park on Jan. 18, 2020, in Houston.
  6. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Joey Wendle (18) looks from the dugout after losing 6-1 to the Houston Astros after winning Game 5 of the American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Houston.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays fans welcome players during introductions just prior the Rays game against the Houston Astros for Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  8. He was the best player on some pretty bad Tampa Bay teams from 2001-06 before being dealt to Houston in the Ben Zobrist trade, but in his book "Baseball Junkie," Aubrey Huff has admitted he was not a particularly likable character.
  9. Tropicana Field saw big crowds again during Game 4 of the American League Division Series (ALDS) between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019 in St. Petersburg.
  10. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg addressing media at spring training on Wednesday.
  11. A life-sized statue of Hall of Famer Ty Cobb has been gifted to Lakeland’s Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers.
  12. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge doesn't hold back as he talks about the Astros' cheating scandal on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, in Tampa.