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Rays vs. Rockies, game two recap: Baseball is easy

How did the Rays lose all those other games?

Tampa Bay Rays v Colorado Rockies Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

After being forced by rain to wait over two hours for the game to start, the Rays offense apparently could wait no longer once the game finally did begin. Logan Forsythe doubled down the line to lead off the game, moved to third on a soft grounder, and then came home when Evan Longoria slapped a single against the shift.

In the third inning, the Rays got on the board again. Oswaldo Arcia walked on four pitches, and while Blake Snell gave a pretty poor attempt at a bunt, striking out on three pitches, the bunt wasn’t needed. Forsythe lined a double over the third baseman and to the wall to score the runner from first and then Brad Miller lined to the base of the center field wall for a double himself. Evan Longoria followed that with a 462 foot monster shot to left.

Corey Dickerson followed Longo’s homer up with a little bloop single off an inside pitch that broke his bat. After making a great diving play to deny Steve Pearce a single, Nolan Arenado let a popup drop in foul territory to give Kevin Kiermaier a second chance. Kiermaier, like seemingly every other Ray hitter this inning, hit a line drive to the wall to score the run, stretching the Rays lead to six.

It didn’t stop there. In the top of the fourth inning, Arcia got on base with a single, and Blake Snell worked a walk, ending Tyler Chatwood’s night. Forsythe hit into a double play, but a sinking liner that fell just in front of Charlie Blackmon’s dive brought Arcia home for the seventh Rays run of the evening.

Blake Snell’s Pitching

Snell was really good. He walked three batters, all of them coming in situations where he, to his own evident frustration, lost command of his fastball. Other than those walks, the sole blemish was a ground ball up the middle in the fourth inning.

Overall he threw six innings of scoreless baseball, striking out nine Colorado batters. He attacked them effectively with fastballs—both elevated and low— and with a very good slider with depth as his favorite secondary pitch. He mixed in a few changeups, as well, but the majority of those strikeouts came via whiffs on the slider low inside or below the zone, or by throwing high fastballs past the Colorado bats. Later in his outing, he mixed in a couple effective curves as well.

This was Snell with a full arsenal and with good-enough command. It was fun to watch.

Blake Snell’s Offense

Snell’s appearances at the plate were like a game within the game. BA found them endlessly amusing.

First time up, with a runner on first, Snell gave three awful attempts to bunt, missing every time, striking out on the third one.

Next time up, Snell also had a man on base. he tried to bunt once more, and failed once more. Then he pulled back the bat and swung away, by which I mean that he took three balls in a row. Then, at 3-1, with the opposing pitcher wild, he DID swing away, missing on a pretty good low pitch. Then he fouled off a high fastball. Then he took ball four away.

Of course, Snell’s brief moment of looking like a hitter was undercut by his inability to impersonate a baserunner. When Forsythe hit a grounder, rather than trying to break up the double play, Snell instead meekly veered off to the side. Not sure whether he or the coaches made the decision, but the thought process was clear: If he slides, he might get hurt. If he doesn’t slide, he might get hit by the throw to first (and get hurt). So just get out of the way and go back to the mound.

Some other notes:

  • Early in the game, it seemed like the zone was pretty big on the inside part of the plate to righties. Less so on the outside and upper edge. That all seemed to even out as the game went on, though.
  • Luke Maile has quick feet behind the plate. He showed them off on some breaking balls in the dirt, early, where he brought his body all the way around the ball as he picked it up to have a better throwing angle.
  • Jake McGee came on to pitch the eighth inning. He did not look like what Rays fans were used to seeing, throwing 91 and 92 mph, but he did get outs.
  • The last three innings go real slow when the Rays are up 7-0, Snell is out of the game, and the recap is already written.
  • Rays added three runs on in the ninth, including a two-run homer in his first game back for Steve Pearce, because finishing up the game quickly and letting the recapper go to bed is for losers.
  • And in the bottom of the ninth, Trevor Story tagged Matt Andriese for a home run to straight center. Because doing that takes more time.