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Rays 4, Twins 9: The Rays played baseball today

Nothing else newsworthy happened.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays are a baseball team who plays 100% of their home games in the Tampa Bay area.

For now.

Today, they opened a series against the Twins, a baseball team who plays 100% of their home games in Minneapolis.

Blake Snell, a pitcher for the Rays, splits his time throwing fastballs and curveballs. Today, however, he felt he could achieve more success if he spent more time throwing fastballs.

Call it a more sustainable model for progress, if you will.

But that’s not quite what happened. The Twins jumped out in front in the top of the second on a single by Willians Astudillo, and added three more in the third on a home run by Jonathan Schoop and singles by Eddie Rosario and CJ Cron.

Snell never found his groove, allowing two more runs to score in the fourth before exiting with the bases loaded. He’d have to split this game between the pitcher’s mound and the dugout.

Newly recalled Hunter Wood allowed one more run on Snell’s dime, and the Rays saw themselves down seven runs after four innings. Wood, who has split his season pitching between the major leagues and AAA, provided the Rays 1.2 innings of relief, allowing a run of his own.

Unlike the Twins, who scored early and often, it took the Rays until the sixth to get on the board when Willy Adames, who has played 100% of his games at shortstop this season, took a hanging curveball from Kyle Gibson over the left field wall.

Andrew Kittredge continued his recent success with the big league club, pitching a scoreless sixth.

And that’s when things got a little interesting.

Twins starter Kyle Gibson cruised through the first six innings, serving the Rays a steady diet of back foot breaking balls. Going out for the seventh proved to be costly, however, as the Rays scored three, putting the game in slam range, thanks to RBI knocks by MIke Brosseau...

...and Brandon Lowe.

Chaz Roe also pitched a scoreless inning, but Adam Kolarek surrendered a solo home run in the eighth. Either way, the deficit was too much to overcome for the offense, as Ryne Harper and Tyler Duffey gave their club scoreless innings of their own.

A note on Snell’s approach

As noted here, Snell is throwing his curveball more than ever before, but with the results of his last few starts being suboptimal, he went with a fastball heavy approach.

Blake Snell Pitch Mix

Pitch Season Tonight
Pitch Season Tonight
Fastball 41.11% 65.00%
Curveball 29.60% 8.75%
Slider 7.34% 8.75%
Changeup 21.95% 17.50%

A look at the strike to ball ratio makes it appear as if Snell had improved command (70% strikes), but it’s one thing to throw a lot of strikes, and it’s another to throw too many strikes.

While we never want to see Snell walk four batters in one inning like he did in his last start against the Yankees, this start seemed to go to the other extreme, as if Snell was ‘wild in the strike zone.’ The Twins, being an offense that feasts on fastballs, took full advantage, tallying eleven hits of the Rays starter; a career high.

Snell’s season ERA has now ballooned to an ugly 5.01 after today’s outing. Here is what Kevin Cash had to say after the game: