After taking the first two games of a four-game set at Fenway Park, the Rays were back in action on Wednesday. Brandon Lowe made a rare start in right field, and Meadows gets a night as the DH. Happy bump day everyone.
Rays fans had to wait for nearly a third of the season before they got to see somewhat of a normal start from former Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell. Okay, it was only 18 games, but it felt like a lot longer. Snell had not made it past the third inning yet in 2020, with the Rays being very cautious about building his workload up. In Wednesday night’s victory, Snell got up to 70 pitches over five innings in his best start of the season.
Snell struck out six while walking none in his five shut out innings of work. His fastball came in at an average velocity of 96 mph, up from his season average of 95. Three of Snell’s strikeouts came on the fastball.
Aaron Slegers’ outing was not as promising. This is the first we’ve seen of Slegers in 2020, as he was added to the active roster after the pitching staff has been hit with the injury bug over the last couple weeks.
He got through the 6th and 7th with little to no trouble, but the wheels fell off in the 8th. Four straight singles to lead off the inning put the Red Sox on the board and brought JD Martinez to the plate with nobody out and the bases juiced. He subsequently did what JD Martinez does...
Slegers faced one more batter, and gave up one last base hit before departing. In a night where it felt like Kevin Cash could let Slegers back it in for an easy win, he was forced to turn to Nick Anderson, who worked his way out of the 8th.
Fairbanks got the 9th, and thankfully we saw good Fairbanks. He closed it out on 11 pitches, and the Rays clinched the series.
The Rays had no problem scoring yet again in game 3 of this series. It’s either a testament of the lineup finally clicking, or a display of absolutely horrific pitching from the Boston Red Sox. We’ll hope for the former.
Brandon Lowe started what was a great day at the plate with a single in the first. He moved over to third after 1B Michael Chavis misplayed a hard hit ground ball off the bat of Yandy Diaz that ended up rolling into shallow right field, giving the Rays runners on the corners with one out. Ji-Man Choi would walk to load the bases, and then another grounder hit in the direction of Michael Chavis led to the Rays first run of the game, and added to a forgettable inning for the Boston infielder.
Don't you just hate when you get a web gem against you? pic.twitter.com/HcD0IpBK15— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 12, 2020
The ball came off of Joey Wendle’s bat at 92.5 mph, and apparently that was enough for it to wedge itself in Chavis’s glove. Quickly realizing his only play was going to be at first, Lowe crossed the plate to get the Rays on the board. The rest of the Rays offense felt a lot more earned, as they went on to hit four home runs.
Willy Adames hit the first of the night, and then it was Brandon Lowe again, hitting one as part of his three-hit day, and it was a rocket.
Yoshi Tsutsugo, who has had a rough start offensively (.152/.278/.239) got one for himself...
And then one last insurance run for the Rays came in the top of the 9th, when Austin Meadows picked up his first of the season...
In a game where the focus will definitely be on Snell and the offense, the Rays’ outfield was flashing the leather. Here’s Kevin Pillar attempting to do something he should know better than to by this point.
And how about Yoshi Tsutsugo with the diving grab to go with his homer...
Despite an ugly 8th inning, this was a dominating performance from the Rays. All three facets of the team were on fire. Blake Snell looked better than he has all season, and to see the offense eclipse eight runs for the third straight night is really promising. Three games from three to start a road trip, what more could you ask for?