Blake Snell took the hill Thursday afternoon in a matinee game against the Seattle Mariners at Tropicana Field. It marked Snell's first start since his MLB debut in late April in which he bested Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees. All signs point to this being a long term call up and Thursday afternoon marked day one.
Unfortunately, due to the time slot of this game, as well as the fact that local television did not pick up the game, I was unable to watch live; so, this recap will be brief and to the point.
Evan Longoria was a late scratch due to forearm soreness, marking the second piece of injury news for the Rays on Thursday after Steven Souza was placed on the 15-day DL with a hip injury.
In short, Blake Snell's start could have gone better. Snell was pulled after only working 3.1 innings and giving up five runs - though only one was earned. It took Snell 92 pitches to work those brief innings, while striking out only three batters and also walking three Mariners. Snell also gave up eight hits on the day, adding to his inefficiency.
In Snell's defense, three of the five runs he allowed were given up in the first inning; two of them coming after Tim Beckham made a costly fielding error, allowing Nelson Cruz to score and Mariners' first baseman Dae-Ho Lee to advance to third and later score.
Beckham let his pitcher down again in the fourth after Shawn O'Malley reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a fielder's choice. Franklin Gutierrez grounded to shortstop, but Beckham's throw was off the mark moving O'Malley to third with only one out. Snell then walked slugging second baseman Robinson Cano on seven pitches to load the bases before getting the hook.
Ryan Garton came on in relief of Snell and promptly struck out Cruz before allowing Lee to double down the right field line, scoring O'Malley and Gutierrez. The Rays would walk Kyle Seager to set up the force at first and second before Garton struck out Chris Iannetta to end the inning.
Just Hangin' Around
That's just what the Rays' offense did all afternoon. After getting down 3-0 in the first Steve Pearce and Logan Forsythe continued their torrid run of late with Pearce hitting an RBI base hit to left field scoring Forsythe who had singled and advanced to second on a Mikie Mahtook base hit. Mahtook would advance to third on Pearce's single and score on a Logan Morrison ground out, pulling the Rays within one run.
After Lee's two RBI double, Curt Casali would drive in Taylor Motter on a ground out of his own in the bottom of the fourth, pulling the Rays back within two.
The pitching staffs would trade zeros until the bottom of the eighth when Brad Miller, who entered the game as a pinch hitter previously, knocked a single to left center plating Motter and advancing Corey Dickerson to third and Forsythe to second, bringing Tampa Bay within a run with three outs to go.
Unfortunately that's where the offense ended for the home team and Kyle Seager made sure he put the nail in the Rays' coffin.
Rays' reliever Tyler Sturdevant entered the ninth for his third inning of work and retired the first two Mariners he faced before Seattle's third baseman stepped into the box. Sturdevant left a pitch over the plate that Seager hit just hard enough to travel exactly 350 feet to the fence where it glanced off of the yellow guard rail for a solo shot, that was confirmed after video review.
The Rays couldn't muster a final comeback in the ninth, though they did win the series two games to one.
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