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Rays 0, Blue Jays 7: Snell struggles for the first time.

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

For the first time in Blake Snell’s career he has significantly struggled in a major league start. It was bound to happen at some point and can be a good teaching moment moving forward. There will be days when things don’t go your way on the field and you have to be able to fight through it.

Snell didn’t pitch as badly as his line would suggest, but he struggled to find the zone, and he walked the last three batters he faced.

Throughout his minor league career Snell would struggle from time to time with control, where he seemingly couldn’t buy a strike. Most starters do. This is the first time he’s really shown that in the majors. He didn’t have help from the defense either, as Steven Souza, Jr. dropped a routine ball in foul territory in the first. Maybe he would have gotten farther with that extra out, but Snell finished the night with 1.2 innings pitched of five hit, five run (2 earned) baseball where he struck out two and walked four on 68 pitches.

It is painful but important for Snell to experience some struggles and see how he is able to bounce back, because at some point he was going to put up a clunker. His next outing will be very important as he looks to bounce back off his worst start of his career.

Onto the deep dive:

Innings 1-2: Snell struggles, Blue Jays take advantage. Blue Jays 5-0.

The Rays started the game with a solid threat after singles by Logan Forsythe and Kevin Kiermaier to put runners on first and second. Evan Longoria smashed a one hopper directly at Devon Travis, but fortunately for the Rays it ate him up and he had to take the out at first. Brad Miller hit a weak grounder to the pitcher and Forsythe was thrown out at the plate. Mikie Mahtook struck out to end the threat. This would be the best chance to put some runs on the board the Rays would find all evening.

The hot hitting Devon Travis led off with a single. Josh Donaldson hit a fly ball in foul territory that Steven Souza, Jr. fumbled. Donaldson would make the Rays pay as he hit a grounder through the infield to put runners on first and second with no outs.

The Blue Jays wouldn’t squander their opportunity as Troy Tulowtizki homered to put the Blue Jays up 3-0 after Snell struck out Edwin Encarnacion looking on a hanging curve ball that frozen him and a fly all to shallow center field by Russell Martin. B.J., I mean Melvin Upton, Jr. drew a walk before stealing second and third base. Snell struck out Michael Saunders to end the threat.

In the second inning the Rays put another threat on the board as Steven Souza, Jr. led off the inning with a walk. Richie Shaffer followed with a one out single to put runners on first and second. Luke Maile struck out swinging before Logan Forsythe hit a liner directly at Michael Saunders in right field.

The second inning wasn’t any better for Snell than the first as he allowed a one out double to Darwin Barney. Devon Travis followed with an RBI single to put the Blue Jays up 4-0. After getting Josh Donaldson to ground out, Snell walked Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, and Troy Tulowtizki to force in another run to put the Blue Jays up 5-0. That would end Snell’s night as Dylan Floro came in to relieve him. Floro induced an infield fly ball to Melvin Upton, Jr. to get out of the bases load situation.

Innings 3-5: Floro looks good, but Rays can’t put together a rally. Blue Jays 5-0.

Nothing much happened offensively for either side, but Floro stemmed the bleeding. He pitched a really solid 2.1 innings and gave up only a double to Russell Martin while striking out four and allowing no walks.

Offensively the Rays only managed a leadoff single in the third inning ahead of a double play by Evan Longoria and a walk by Logan Forsythe with two outs in the fifth inning. The at bat by Kiermaier in the third was really impressive as he worked a full count after falling behind 0-2 and then singled on a grounder to right field.

Innings 6-9: Toronto tacks on. Rays bats fall silently into the night. Blue Jays 7-0.

After getting two quick outs in the bottom of the sixth for Danny Farquhar the inning fell apart. He walked Edwin Encarnacion before hitting Russelll Martin. Troy Tulowitzki hit a line drive to right to put the Blue Jays up 6-0.

In the top of the seventh Richie Shaffer smashed a double down the third base line off of Joe Biagini.

Ryan Garton allowed a homer to Justin Smoak on a changeup that didn’t fool him to put the Blue Jays up 7-0.

My takeaways:

There wasn’t a lot of good, but Kiermaier put up some solid plate appearances and put up two singles against a touch lefty.

Richie Shaffer was the best performer on offense as he went 2 for 3 with a double. After the game it was announced he is being optioned to AAA presumably to make room for Matt Duffy.

Logan Forsythe continued his hot streak as he led off the game with a single and added a walk in the fifth inning.

The Rays will need some guys to step up against LHP as they lost two of their biggest weapons in Brandon Guyer and Steve Pearce. Maybe that somebody is Shaffer or Mahtook, or they might be looking for a bat in free agency to fill the role.

I was really impressed by Dylan Floro. I think there’s a role for him in the bullpen moving forward. He’s a big ground ball guy. He might not be more than a guy that can be utilized on the Durham Shuttle, but I think there might be more potential in there.