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Rays 11, Nats 0: The Best All-Around Game of the Year

Nats try The Opener, don’t quite get it right.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This was an excellent game, perhaps the most well-rounded the Rays have played this year. But sometimes it is fun to get mad for a little bit. Want to get mad?

Rays sweep the Yankees on three straight Bullpen Days (pitching a combined shutout on of of them) and the Yanks collect “Bullpen of the Week” honors. I’ve never been more salty about an award that I didn’t know existed until 30 minutes ago. If you ever had any doubt that these awards are chosen at random out of a barrel by a chimpanzee, here ya go.

Also Mike Trout hasn’t won AL Player of the Week in years but whatever.

The Two Minutes Hate is over! Let’s talk about the game!

Blake Snell got himself into some trouble in the first inning, but he got himself out of it. After walking the first two batters he faced, he managed to end the inning with no runs scored. This 20 pitch inning, though, would be pretty rough on Snell, as he struggled through the rest of the game.

lol jk dude retired the next 18 guys he faced

Meanwhile the Rays absolutely pounced on Gio Gonzalez in the second inning for 6 runs! It would be more than enough than the Rays would need with Snell on the mound, but a little extra offense never really hurt anybody.

The Rays loaded the bases with no outs, thanks to a Jake Bauers double and a pair of walks by C.J. Cron and Carlos Gomez. Although it’s wonderful to see the Rays pile on, much has to be said about Gio Gonzalez’s lack of command in the inning. One of the DRB writers said that Gonzalez is basically Blake Snell without any command. That’s a frightening thought, and that frightening thought was on display this inning when Gio managed to walk four Rays players. The Rays scored their first run on a wild pitch, and another walk to Willy Adames forced home Jake Bauers for a 2-0 lead.

This, of course, was not the best thing that happened this inning.

Kevin Kiermaier broke out of his funk in a big ol’ way, denting into Papa John’s overhead by tattooing a grand slam to put the Rays up 6-0. After allowing another hit to Matt Duffy, Davey Martinez had seen enough. Justin Miller entered the game, and stayed in for a good while.

The Rays kept scratching and clawing against every pitcher the Nats sent out there. A nice extra run came just an inning later, when Jake Bauers and Willy Adames hit a pair of singles to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch scored a hustling Bauers to put up a 7-0 lead.

But y’all aren’t here to read about small ball.

Wilson Ramos said howdy-do to his former team and hit a line drive shot to left center. That was probably the only home run he hit tonight, right?

Wrong, you fool!

This one also came with a sweet lil’ bat drop, too. So that was pretty sweet!

And the cool part is that this wasn’t even the best part of the game!

Blake Snell, after allowing a couple of walks, throttled the Nats for the majority of the game, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. And look, this was said above, but Snell had 20 swinging strikes into the sixth inning. At one point, he had thrown five consecutive strikeouts. Benefiting from a zone that was a bit wide at the corners, Snell carved up professional Nats hitters and kept everyone off balance with his stupid-curvy curveball.

Honestly just get out of here with that stuff. It is a shame that his pitch count started so high in the first inning, as Snell would eventually leave after a solid 7 innings pitched. He left the game with 10 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a single hit from Anthony Rendon. This was the best pitched game by a Ray this year, and Snell should feel very good about his All-Star chances.

Austin Pruitt entered in the eighth inning, and even closed out the game in the ninth. Welcome back, Pruitt!

Jesus Sucre chugged his way home for the 11th run of the game, driven home by Jake Bauers, who had a four-hit night. I’ve been a believer in Bauers, ever since he was a 19 year old in AA, one of the youngest to do that. Light Tower Bauers might be a fixture in this lineup for a long time.

11-0 wins ain’t nothing to complain about. Games like this come around a few times a season, so hope y’all enjoyed it. Tomorrow the Rays play an early game against Max Scherzer, so really, enjoy this game.