Blake Snell is officially a member of the San Diego Padres. As Rays fans, all we have left are the memories.
Part of the ‘historic’ 2011 draft for the Rays, Snell was the only player from the Rays first 100 picks that brought any value to Tampa Bay. He rose through the prospect rankings during an incredible 49 inning scoreless streak in 2015, propelling him to the top of many baseball prospect rankings.
He made his big league debut in 2016, but struggled to find his footing. His reign as a top major league starter began after that demotion. Snell made some adjustments that would make him among the game’s best, putting the exclamation point on his ace status with the American League Cy Young award in 2018.
Now with Snell leaving the Rays, we’ll look back on his top five performances with the Rays, plus an honorable mention.
May 6th, 2019
Game Score - 79
Blake Snell was tremendous during this outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks as he worked five no-hit innings. He looked well on his way to completing the sixth inning with no hits, but unfortunately a groundball snuck through the left side of the infield. Snell allowed just that one single, and then immediately hit a batter, but was able to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
Kevin Cash decided to pull Snell with a 7-0 lead instead of sending him out for the seventh inning. Overall, Snell pitched six innings and allowed just the one hit, while he didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine.
June 3rd, 2018
Game Score - 80
The start to this game could not have gone any better for Blake Snell’s homecoming in Seattle as he set down the first seven batters who dared to step into the box against him. The seven consecutive strikeouts tied Andy Sonnanstine’s club record for consecutive strikeouts in a single game.
The Mariners did achieve their first hit in the fourth inning, but would also strikeout two more times. Snell ultimately worked six innings against Seattle, allowing just two hits, walking none, and striking out a dozen.
June 25th, 2018
Game Score - 81
Blake Snell walked the first two batters he faced during this outing, but it would turn out to be the third best performance of his big league career as he settled down and started to dominate.
Following the two walks, Snell retired the next 18 hitters he faced in order, including 10 via strikeouts. In the 7th, he ran into trouble with a leadoff double (the first hit allowed by him), followed by a walk. But, he coaxed a groundball for a double play. Kevin Cash stuck with him following another walk and Snell retired Wilmer Difo on a groundball to end the inning and his outing.
Overall, Snell worked seven shutout innings, yielding four walks and struck out 10, with just the one hit allowed.
April 2nd, 2019
Game Score - 85
Fresh off winning the 2018 American League Cy Young award, Snell was out to prove it wasn’t a fluke. In just his second outing of the season, he showcased the reasons the BBWAA honored him with the award.
Snell worked four perfect innings before Trevor Story led off the 5th with a single. Snell yielded a walk in the 6th and then another single in the 7th, but those would be the only blemishes on his otherwise spotless record.
He finished his nearly flawless performance by striking out David Dahl on three pitches. Overall, Snell worked seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits while he walked one and struck out 13.
October 1st, 2017
Game Score - 86
The 2017 season was a disappointment for Blake Snell. The 24 year old was in his sophomore season with the Rays, but had struggled over the course of the year and even endured demotion to Triple-A Durham halfway through the campaign. Upon his return, it was clear he was a much more effective pitcher than he had been at the start of the year.
Snell would cap all of this off with an absolutely dominant outing against the Baltimore Orioles on the final day of the regular season.
Snell carved the Orioles for the first four innings before surrendering a leadoff single in the fifth inning. Eight of the first 12 outs by Snell came via swinging strikeouts. He recorded two more swinging strikeouts in the fifth, then struck out Joey Rickard looking in the sixth. Then, two more swinging strikeouts in the seventh gave Snell a total of 13 punch outs during the game.
Overall, Snell delivered seven shutout innings and struck out 13, while allowing two hits and walking none, all on just 100 pitches.
October 27th, 2020
Game Score 69
The biggest what-if game in franchise history, during game six of the 2020 World Series, Snell was as dominant as we have ever seen. Snell started the game with three straight strikeouts of the Dodgers top three hitters, then struck out two more in the second.
After five innings, the Rays clung to a 1-0 lead, but Snell was cruising. He had allowed just one base hit, and had accumulated nine strikeouts. Snell looked fully in control, but after one out in the sixth, Austin Barnes singled, leading to Kevin Cash to make the toughest decision of his managerial career as he removed Blake Snell after just 5 1⁄3 innings pitched.
Barnes eventually came around to score, with the run charged to Snell. Overall, Snell struck out nine, walked none, and allowed just two hits during what has now turned out to be his final appearance in a Rays uniform.