Blake Snell Vs Hunter Pence
Blake Snell representing the Rays, and he represented us well. Starting out the tournament, Snell went with the throwback Devil Rays jerseys, a clearly excellent choice.
Snell’s semifinal matchup vs Pence started with a bit of controversy. After Snellzilla mowed through the lineup with his own 99 rated player card, and got a nice sac fly to gain a 1-0 lead, digital Tropicana Field went dark.
We are working to resolve the issue with the MLB The Show 20 Player Tournament livestream.— MLB The Show (@MLBTheShow) March 28, 2020
After a length delay, the semi final match was restarted. Blake Snell, both the man in the gaming chair and the man toeing the dirt in virtual Tropicana, were not rattled. Snell got a few nasty Ks swinging and a weak pop-up to catcher in the re-started 1st inning.
Hunter Pence, being a good sport, allowed Snell to sore to get us back to where we left off in the first game.
Snell had complete control of the game, both on the mound and at the plate. The real standout at the dish for team Blake was Freddie Freeman, nailing two monstrous HRs.
With the game a runaway at 7-0, Blake Snell, clearly not managing like Kevin Cash, left himself in there to turn the order over for another time. He was able to get two Ks, but then gave up a moonshot that just missed leaving the park. Hunter Pence got greedy and tried for the inside the parker, only to be caught between home and 3rd for the final out.
When asked if there was any thought to pull his own card after the 3rd, Snell immediately dismissed that notion out of hand.
Starter Snell running on fumes, but wanting to go for the CG, got into some trouble with a few hits. Eventually Gamer Snell decided that whether it’s in real life or digital, Rays starters going complete is just not to be.
The shutout ended with Adam Ottovino letting in the inherited run, but got the final K to secure Blake a trip to the finals 8-1 over Hunter Pence.
Snellzilla’s final line with himself 4 ⅓ IP and 9 Ks
Championship vs Amir Garrett
In Amir Garrett’s own semi-final game, he was able to get the narrow victory 2-1 over Twins Closer Trevor May on two solo HRs. Narrow HR fueled victories would prove to be Amir Garrett’s bread and butter in The Show.
In the duel of two lefties, Blake Snell got home field advantage at The Trop vs Amir Garrett’s Reds. With Snell’s card going long in the semifinal and unavailable to go in the championship, Blake went with DeGrom. Amir’s starter (also DeGrom) looked to be the better DeGrom in the battle of DeGroms.
Recapping a video game like it’s a real game is weird.
The Championship game proved to be a very tight contest, with both Snell and Garrett working in and out of trouble. Garrett got off to the early lead, but for Snell it was Freddie Freeman again with his 3rd HR in as many swings.
Team Amir took the 2-1 lead with another solo HR sailing into the Trop’s LF stands.
Snell attempted to get a little too cute to claw his way back, using Cody Bellinger to try a drag bunt which ended up popping straight back to the catcher. With 2 out in the 4th, Snell went to the bench to call in Nolen Arrenado over Kolten Wong (one of the boldest player choices on any roster), and just just missed a go ahead HR.
With 3 outs to go, in a shocking managerial choice, Amir Garrett went to Kirby Yates over his own 99 rated card to try and get the save for the championship. Snell got a double off the digital ex-Ray, and moved the runner over to 3rd on a deep fly ball out.
Amir Garrett decided to finally call on himself to try and secure the final out vs the clear cut tournament MVP to that point Freddie Freeman.
And this is where Snell showcased a Kevin Cash-ian level of managerial discipline and boldness. No manager going with their gut would pull Freeman after proving to be impossible to get out so far. However, with an incredible tough lefty on lefty matchup and Ronald Acuna ready on the bench, Snell made the tough call to get the PH over Freeman.
Sometimes the right process doesn’t lead to the best results. Garrett got Snell to pop out to end the game, and secure the championship 2-1.
Overall, Blake Snell gave it a valiant effort and represented the Rays and Rays fans very well. It was a fun tournament to showcase some personality and fun with these players. As the offseason drags on, I’m sure there will be more opportunities for e-sports from Snell and other ballplayers waiting for the real Opening Day to come.