On a cool Monday afternoon in the south side of Chicago, the Rays took down the White Sox 5-1 behind yet another terrific outing from Blake Snell.
The first series we'll play this year without bullpens on the field. https://t.co/SH7KO6BLKU #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/ogIQCNiS8m— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 8, 2019
Carlos Rodon received the nod to start for the White Sox, but the young lefty was never able to get on much of a roll today.
In the first inning, Rodon allowed each of the first three Rays hitters to get on base before recording an out. With a full count, Guillermo Heredia watched ball four go by and collected his free pass to first, scoring Yandy Diaz as the first Rays run of the game. A sacrifice fly from Ji-Man Choi would plate an additional run and the Rays were off to an early 2-0 lead in the first.
Blake Snell made quick work of Chicago’s hitters in the bottom of the first, striking out the first two batters and finishing the inning with only 14 pitches thrown.
In the top of the second inning, things got weird. Willy Adames led off the inning with a double to left field, his first extra-base hit on the season. Following a wild pitch that advanced Adames to third and a Tommy Pham walk, Daniel Robertson laid down a bunt that the White Sox defense had no chance at making a play on, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead.
A double steal by Pham and Robertson put both of them in scoring position, and Avisail Garcia, facing his former team, hit a ball up the middle to plate Pham, extending the lead to 4-0. Following the conclusion of the top half of the second, Blake Snell trotted back out on the mound, only to head right back into the dugout after striking out the side on 15 pitches.
Carlos Rodon seemed to find some of his command in the third inning, as the only hit that was allowed was a single to Willy Adames, in a battle between players trying to get back into form after early struggles.
In the top of the fifth, Brandon Lowe hit a double to end a short span of not-so-impressive plate appearances. With two outs and after 111 pitches and 62 strikes, Rodon’s day was done, and command-wise, it wasn’t a great day. BaseballSavant’s 3D Pitch Visualizer shows all of Rodon’s pitches here and it’s easy to see just how all over the place his pitches were. Carson Fulmer was called upon to relieve Rodon.
Blake Snell allowed his first run against in over 12 innings of work with a home run to Jose Rondon in the bottom of the fifth. Snell would get out of the inning by throwing his eighth strikeout in the game with no additional runs scored, and would record three more strikeouts in the sixth to finish his strong outing on the day with exactly 100 pitches thrown.
The most impressive thing about Snell’s sixth inning is that after allowing the first two hitters in the inning to reach the corner bases, Snell locked it down and struck out each of Abreu, Castillo and Moncada swinging to get out of the jam unscathed.
11 strikeouts later, Snell’s 10th career 10+ strikeout outing was over after Snell induced 22 swinging strikes by Chicago hitters, allowing only one run on six hits with no walks allowed.
Recalled earlier in the day, Hunter Wood, with his hair longer than ever, took over for Snell in the bottom of the seventh. Wood would go on to work the final three innings of the game, earning the save after three solid innings of work.
In the top of the eighth, Willy Adames recorded his third hit on the game, and the Rays loaded up the bases against Carson Fulmer. Pinch-hitter Austin Meadows drew a walk to score the second RBI off of a walk in the game and the Rays lead was extended to 5-1. 5-1 would be the final score in the Rays’ victory over the Chicago White Sox.
And your #RaysWin!— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 8, 2019
FINAL: #Rays 5, White Sox 1 pic.twitter.com/19fG1EnRVo
This game was one that highlight shows won’t showcase any highlights from later tonight, as it involved inefficient hitting by the Rays (although hitting that did get the job done) leaving many runners on, and rough pitching from the White Sox, whose bats were shut down by Blake Snell and Hunter Wood.
With the eighth win in their last ten games, the Rays continue their hot start to the season, leading the charge with the best start to a season in franchise history. The Rays will look to stay hot and keep this record-breaking start to the season going tomorrow against the White Sox, with first pitch slated for 2pm.