Rays lost, heartbreaking fashion, yada yada yada. You know the drill. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. But the story of today for Rays' fans was rookie Blake Snell. The kid who blew through the minors last year and opened everybody's eyes was making his Big League debut on the biggest stage. How would he hold up? Let's find out.
A Rocky First
Snell set a Major League rookie record for deep breaths during a dicey first inning. After retiring Jabroni Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to start things off, he lost Carlos Beltran on four pitches. He then worked ahead of Mark Teixeira 1-2 before getting too much plate with a 96 mph fastball that Tex served into center for a single, sending Beltran to third. That might play in Durham, kid, but this is the bigs and you gotta locate up here.
Next, the kid from that Rookie of the Year movie gave up the first run of his career on the first wild pitch of his career. It came on a 1-2 two-seam fastball that went five-hole on Hank Conger. It wasn't well located, but it's really a play Hank has to make.
And what always comes after that? You give up your first homer of course, when you leave the next pitch over the plate to Alex Rodriguez. Except, wait, that wasn't what happened. The long fly died at the wall, and Desmond Jennings made a leaping grab. 1-0 Yankees, but only 1-0. Also, Blake Snell knows all the curse words apparently.
Now with his feet wet, Snell went back out to face Brian McCann: Ray killer. But something funny happened on the way to the rookie meltdown; the Snell tolled for McCann in the form of a killer curve on 2-2 that locked up the Yankee catcher for Blake's first career K.
He followed that up by confounding Starlin Castro with fastballs and change ups, putting the former Cub away on a foul tip strike out. Then he finished up the second against Chase Headley, whom he retired on six pitches, the last one going love in Snellevator and getting Headley swinging on high cheese.
The kid was on, and would stay that way for the rest of his outing. Mixing an easy 95 mph fastball with a change up that had depth and a wicked curve, the Yankees never really squared him up. Overall, Snell worked five innings, yielding just the one run on two hits, with one walk and six strikeouts. At one point, he retired seven in a row and ten of eleven before an error by Brad Miller broke the string. He didn't allow a leadoff batter to reach, and he got a first pitch strike to 13 of the 19 hitters he faced. When he was pulled he probably had a bit more in the tank, but there was little doubt in my mind that Cash made the right move to pull the kid at 90 pitches. No need to run him a third time through the order with an elevated pitch count, let him go out feeling good about himself. Besides, the kid was winning.
With one out in the fourth inning, Logan Morrison doubled to right center. No, really. That's not a typo. He actually looked pretty okay today, and when he got ahead in the count, he crunched a 3-1 Tanaka fastball. (Oh, did I mention Masahiro Tanaka was pitching for the Yankees? I didn't? Excuse the oversight. Tanaka is soooooo 2014.) After Longo moved Morrison to third on a pop fly to right that I was sure was going to carry farther than it did, Big Swinging Dickerson came up, and promptly fell into an 0-2 hole. So Dickerson did what he rarely ever does; he turned into little swinging dinkerson. Just slapped at an outside fastball from Tanaka that had too much elevation.
But you know what happens when you're as strong as Corey Dickerson? Sometimes slaps the other way still go to the wall for a double. Tie game.
Then in the fourth inning, Kevin Kiermaier did this.
A belated b-day HR off the 'fair' pole. Touch 'em all, @KKiermaier39. #RaysUp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 23, 2016
WATCH: https://t.co/XzEaFi3AOS pic.twitter.com/fXg8bvsMwo
2-1, good guys. Game over. Everybody go home.
You Mean There's More?
Sadly, yes. Now we get to the part where everything went to pot. I'll be brief.
After pitching a solid sixth inning, Enny Romero lost the zone. He was followed by Xavier Cedeno, who had trouble finding it at all. It looked like this:
Four pitch walk
Fly out to center
Four pitch walk
Catcher's Interference (??!!?? Again??? And Jamokeby Ellsbury on Casali again? I can't even...)
Line drive off Xavier Cedeno that ricochets into no-mans land between first and second. Run scores, 2-2
Pitching Change (Erasmo!)
So yeah, the Yankee runs came thanks to a wild pitch, some walks, and a catcher interference. That sucks.
The Yankees rolled through their bullpen aces, while the Rays rolled with ErACEmo, who -- to be fair -- was not as sharp as he has been. And you can certainly make the case that Cash rode the horse too long. Still, Ramirez was only one out away from getting through the ninth when he missed location on a 3-1 fastball, and Brett Gardner took it out for a legit homer to right. And that was your ball game.
So yeah, we lost. Like I said, it happens sometimes. But today, we saw the future. And it looks pretty dang bright.
- Snell was helped out by a pretty big zone, but at least it was called for both sides.
- There was a cool interview with Snell's mom here:
This is how I picture Hatfield's mom if we ever interview her.
- The Rays had another caught stealing when KK was ruled out after a challenge.
- Also, Conger threw another ball into centerfield.
- Per Topkin, after the game, the Rays demoted Snell (as expected) and promoted Jhan Marinez (which is kind of a surprise).
- Go Rays!
|Roll Call Info|
|Commenter list||406Rays, Adam Sanford, AndrewTorrez, Banestar, Bradley Neveu, Brickhaus, BucoffBuddy, David Kristoffer, DrSouza, JRTW612, Nick_named_Nick, Noles95', Pocoroba, Rays1118, RazeTheRoof, Senor Caiman, Spurrier? I Hardly Know Her, TBRays33, Toll Booth Willie, dirtyarcade, essenpee, nomo.red.evil, raysfaninminnesota, sirthomas813, staplemaniac, stingraypete, tampa_edski, tb_throwaway, the dobber, turntwo21|