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Rays 9, Red Sox 1: Cy Cnell

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Luck dragon offense, and Blake Snell is so good I didn’t even realize he was dominating

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

I didn’t write any of the Snell/WAR articles this week. I mean, love stats, but I’m not a deep new-stats guy. I do know that Blake Snell is pretty good. How good is he? He’s so good that he seemed pretty ordinary to me today, and yet he rolled through six innings and only really got into trouble in one of them. He gave up one run, a couple hits, a couple walks, and struck out eight. Eight! On a ho-hum day. That’s pretty good!

Oh, and we scored lots of runs too, as the Rays rolled to their eighth straight win by a score of 9-1, improving to 70-61 and completing a three game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the (cough) “best team in baseball.”

So about that offense. The luck dragons were active early and often. The Rays jumped on sleeper agent Nate Eovaldi in the first for two runs. Lead off hitter Joey Wendle started it off when he blooped an 0-1 cutter a foot or two inside the left field foul line for a double. Wendle moved to third when Matt Duffy absolutely hammered a 1-2 splitter .... directly into the ground. The ball proceeded to bounce approximately 69 times before finding Xander Bogaert’s glove, long after Duffy had reached first. Eovaldi then got ahead of Ji-Man Choi 0-2 before the Choi rolled another splitter back through the middle, scoring Wendle and sending Duffy to third.

Home plate ump Todd Tichenor apparently didn’t get the memo about the Rays getting all the breaks today, as he absolutely butchered a called strike three that was well off the plate to retire Tommy Pham for the first out. Jake Bauers then juuuuuuust missed a 3-2 splitter, though he did give it enough of a ride to the warning track in right to score Choi and make it 2-0. Eovaldi finally slew the final luck dragon of the inning when he retired Kiermaier on a pop out.

Blake Snell lost the perfect game in the second when he walked Steve Pearce. But Pearce was not paying attention to our storyline. Thinking he had gotten a good read on a swinging strike at a breaking ball in the dirt, he took off for second. And sure, it was a good read. But the ball didn’t very far away, and Perez was very quick to the ball. His strong throw made the out almost routine.

In the top of the third, some stuff happened (I think Blake Snell struck out a guy?) but I’m not sure because BRIAN ANDERSON AND DEWAYNE STAATS ARE TALKING ABOUT DRAYSBAY ARTICLES ON THE BROADCAST AND I AM OVER THE MOON OH MY GOSH THIS IS AMAZING! THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT WAR IN A SMART WAY AND I’M A PUDDLE ON MY COUCH!

Okay, where were we?

The luck dragons awoke again in the bottom of the third. Matt Duffy grounded a one-out single to left. Then, with Moreland holding Duffy on, Choi chopping one past the first baseman and into right, putting runners at the corners. Pham followed by slapping a liner into center scoring Duffy.

3-0 Rays.

After Bauers smoked one that was caught in right center, Kevin Kiermaier flaired one to left that fell and rolled around for a while. By the time Brock Holt got the ball back in, Choi and Pham had scored and Kiermaier was on third.

5-0 Rays.

The luck dragons took mercy on Sleeper Agent Eovaldi, and Willy Adames struck out to end the threat, stranding KK.

Boston finally got a hit in the fourth when Betts lined a single to center. Betts even made it as far as second when he swiped the bag during a Xander Bogaerts strikeout — despite a strong throw from Perez. But Snell stranded him there.

Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Brandon Lowe reached thanks to some lolfense at Mitch Moreland’s expense.

Insert Yakety Sax
GIF by Dom

After Perez replaced Lowe on the bases via fielders choice, Wendle lined a single to center, putting runners on first and second. A 1-0 wild pitch through Sandy Leon’s five hole followed, pushing both runners up a bag. Matt Duffy’s sac fly to center then scored Perez.

6-0 Rays.

Joe Kelly entered in the fifth, ending the day for Eovadi. Kelly worked a scoreless frame, giving up a single and a walk but also recorded a pickoff of Tommy Pham. Thankfully there were no fingers harmed in the process.

In the top of the sixth, the Red Sox got their first real rally going. Snell walked the #8 hitter Sandy Leon, then saw Jackie Bradley Jr. hook one inside the first base bag for a double. Snell responded well. He did give up a sac fly to center to Mookie Betts, scoring Leon, but sat down Nunez on a groundout and Bogaerts on a check swing strikeout. 6-1 Rays.

It was Heath Hembree for the bottom of the sixth. Brandon Lowe smashed his full count offering at -60 degree launch angle and reached on an infield single. Just Lowe then stole second on a Michael Perez strikeout, putting a man in scoring position for Joey Wendle. While Wendle wasn’t able to cash in (he struck out after a six pitch at bat), Matt Duffy picked him up by lining a hustle double to right, plating Lowe.

7-1 Rays.

After a Choi walk, Tommy Pham flied out to right to end the inning.

Diego Castillo took over in seventh, and it continue to be boring in a very good way.

Matt Barnes worked the bottom of the inning for the Red Sox. A couple walks and a couple strikeouts brought Michael Perez to plate, who stroked a double into the right field corner, scoring both Jake Bauers and Brandon Lowe.

9-1 Rays.

Kimbrell came in to get some work in the bottom of the eighth and struck out the side, so not everything was sunny. But if you’re gonna complain about that — well, then you’re a real DomeBiscuit.

Andrew Kittredge — and Andrew Kittredge’s beard! — both made a return to the Trop for some mop up work in the eighth and ninth. His slider looked decent on his way to a couple pop outs, three ground outs, a strikeout, and a single. Though honestly, it might have just been the beard that looked good and not the slider. We missed the beard. Never shave again, Kitt.

  • This was the first multi-series homestand sweep in Tampa Bay franchise history.
  • This was also the first time the Red Sox have been swept this season.

Next, the streaking Rays travel to Atlanta for a two game Interleague set against the Braves beginning Tuesday. How do we feel about that?