1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Snell controls strike zone to continue rebound

Blake Snell tossed six scoreless innings on Sunday to stop the Rays five-game losing streak.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) pitches at the top of the first inning against Texas Rangers on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
ALLIE GOULDING | Times Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) pitches at the top of the first inning against Texas Rangers on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Published Jul. 21, 2019
Updated Jul. 21, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG – Starting pitcher Blake Snell turned in a dominant performance on Sunday, allowing three hits and two walks over six scoreless innings as the Rays defeated the White Sox and put an end to their five-game losing streak. In his last four starts, Snell has allowed only four combined runs over 22 innings, lowering his ERA to 4.28 for the season. Rays manager Kevin Cash said that Snell’s recent success is due, in part, to pitching within the strike zone.

“As long as he’s showing the opposing lineup that he’s getting the ball over the plate, he’s going to have good nights.”

Through his first 16 starts, Snell posted a 5.01 ERA and turned in a few clunkers. All the while, he insisted that he felt better than he did during his Cy Young Award-winning 2018 season, and that Cy Young stuff showed up again on Sunday. Snell said that he still has things to improve on, but he is content with his recent rebound.

“Overall, I was happy,” Snell said. “I wish I would have had more first pitch strikes.”

Snell threw first pitch strikes to 16 of the 22 batters he faced.

Sticking with Choi

Cash penciled designated hitter Ji-Man Choi in at the leadoff spot on Sunday, his second consecutive day atop the lineup.

“The two guys who are getting on base, maybe at the highest clip, are (Choi) and Meadows,” Cash said. “Let’s see if we can continue forcing the issue and maybe find that big hit.”

Among qualified batters, Choi ranks third on the team with his .347 on-base percentage. He trails outfielders Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham. The decision to move Choi to the top of the order drops Meadows into the second spot, a position where his team-leading .892 OPS can potentially drive in more base runners.

Medical Notes

Infielder Matt Duffy flew to Florida on Sunday to rejoin his teammates before the home series against Boston that begins Monday night. He could be activated at some point during the series.

Primary second baseman Brandon Lowe took ground balls on Saturday, but Cash said that the 2019 All-Star does not look ready to return from his right shin contusion. “His steps seem really calculated,” Cash said of Lowe. “It doesn’t seem like he’s quite where he needs to be, mobility-wise.”

After Lowe landed on the injured list on July 4, Cash said he hoped to have his second baseman back for the Orioles series after the All-Star Break. That series that wrapped up on July 14, and Lowe’s timetable to return to the active roster remains undefined. “Little things can kind of irritate it and still hurt it, which is a little head-scratching,” Cash said.

Infielder Daniel Robertson, on the IL retro to June 22 after arthroscopic knee surgery, is likely to begin a rehab assignment in Port Charlotte on Monday, Cash said. He will spend a few days there before continuing his rehab in Durham.

Taxi squad

Guillermo Heredia has shuffled between the Rays and class Triple-A Durham since the All-Star Break. Tampa Bay optioned and recalled Heredia twice over the last week. His latest call up came on Sunday after Kevin Kiermaier hit the 10-day IL with a left thumb sprain.

“That’s part of the game, going up and down,” Heredia said. “I’m going to do everything I can, whether I’m up or down, to perform.”


Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera are among six players inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Halladay, an Odessa resident and beloved youth coach in the Tampa Bay area, died in a plane crash in Pasco County in November 2017. He made his major-league debut for the Blue Jays against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Sept. 20, 1998. Rivera recorded 64 of his 652 career saves against Tampa Bay.


  1. Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, shown at last year's event with since traded Ryne Stanek, likes the fun and games at Fan Fest.
    Registering on the MLB Ballpark app is necessary for all attendees 18 and older; team says no paper tickets can be used.
  2. For a while, Nick Anderson was nearly unhittable after the Rays acquired him from the Marlins in July. He ended up with 41 strikeouts in 21.1 innings for the Rays in 2019. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
    No one on Tampa Bay’s roster has more than 20 career saves to his name. But the Rays have at least four relievers who could be in line to protect the majority of ninth-inning leads.
  3. The Seattle Mariners' Chris Prieto now is part of the Tampa Bay Rays' staff. [LESLIE PLAZA JOHNSON  |]
    The extensive makeover includes six new hires (including a female athletic trainer) and 16 internal changes in assignment.
  4. Longtime Tampa-based player agent B.B. Abbott plans next month to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer. Here he walks around his South Tampa neighborhood at night with an altitude mask. [B.B. ABBOTT  |  Special to the Times]
    B.B. Abbott will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer groups.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash and new Japanese slugger Yoshi Tsutsugo, shown during December press conference, will have a lot to talk about during spring training. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    Rays Tales | Learning where Yoshi Tsutsugo and other newcomers best fit will be a priority in Port Charlotte.
  6. With pitching coach Kyle Snyder keeping a close eye on him at Tropicana Field on Friday, Rays prospect Brent Honeywell continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2018 and a fractured arm in 2019. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    John Romano | Once Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospect, Brent Honeywell has had elbow surgeries in successive seasons. Healthy again, he hopes to be in the majors this summer.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow prepares to warm up on the field during a player workout at Tropicana Field on Friday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Discipline for sign-stealing scheme was lax, Rays pitchers say, as participating hitters should have been disciplined as well.
  8. Members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, who inspired the movie "A League of Their Own," will be honored at the Feb. 1 Ted Williams dinner at Tropicana Field. [GLOBE PHOTOS  |]
    Players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, like Englewood’s Sue Parsons Zipay, will be honored at Ted Williams Museum event at the Trop.
  9. Diego Castillo (63) kicks a ball around during spring training at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte last February. [TAILYR IRVINE  | TIMES  ]
    Games will be available on TV and streamed; 21 of the exhibitions will be carried on radio.
  10. Derek Jeter speaks during the Baseball Hall of Fame news conference on Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020, a day after joining Larry Walker as members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class. [BEBETO MATTHEWS  |  AP]
    The New York Yankees great and the Baseball Hall of Fame say they are both OK not knowing who the lone voter is that kept Jeter from being a unanimous selection.