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Tampa Bay Rays MLB/MiLB Recap: Blake Snell Rolling Again

By Robbie Knopf
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On Monday in the Tampa Bay Rays system, several pitchers looked very good, specifically Blake Snell at Double-A and Jose Mujica at Advanced Rookie ball. Unfortunately, Cody Anderson looked better than everyone as he shut down the Rays offense.

Cleveland Indians 7, Tampa Bay Rays 1

Cody Anderson wasn’t dominating the Tampa Bay Rays, at least in the conventional sense. He recorded only 2 strikeouts in his 8 innings–both Marc Krauss–and instead it was a lot of weak contact and the occasional line drive into a fielder’s mitt that kept the Rays off the board for so long. The good news was that the Rays were not getting overpowered, but it is hurt to find much solace in that given how poor their results were.

Grady Sizemore broke up Anderson’s perfect game bid with a solo homer in the seventh inning to make it a 2-1 game. Evan Longoria followed with a single, advancing to second on an error, and it looked like the Rays might be starting a miracle comeback. Instead, he was stranded at third base and the Rays’ bullpen collapsed in the final two frames. Kirby Yates allowed a Yan Gomes solo homer in the eighth before Ronald Belisario came apart entirely. At least Nate Karns looked good in his start, allowing 2 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings and striking out 7 while walking 2.

The Rays will hope to break out of their recent rut at home tonight at 7:10 PM as Erasmo Ramirez returns to the mound to take on Danny Salazar.

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Triple-A International League: Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 4, Durham Bulls 1

Tim Beckham looked good at the plate for the Bulls in their loss, going 2 for 4 with a double, a stolen base, and the lone run scored. He also played third base for the first time as a professional, making 1 error in 3 chances. Some Rays fans would rather have Beckham in the majors, but it’s better to have Jake Elmore playing infrequently off the bench rather than him, and it’s cool that he will return to the major leagues with the ability to play several more positions. Nick Franklin went 1 for 4 as the Bulls’ DH–we obviously need to see a lot more than that, but in case you were wondering, he is still capable of getting hits.

Everett Teaford started for the Bulls and tossed 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was 6-3 and he also picked off a batter. Andy Oliver followed by allowing 1 more run before Jhan Marinez managed to work around a walk in his scoreless frame.

Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 5, Chattanooga Lookouts (MIN) 3

Blake Snell doesn’t have a scoreless streak going–instead, like most pitchers in baseball, he has allowed at least 1 run in each of his last 6 starts. However, no one was asking him to be perfect and starts like this one are quite good as well. On June 15th, Snell took a step in the right direction when he tossed 5 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 6 hits, striking out 8 while walking 2. Then, in this game, he went 6 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was also an excellent 10-1.

Snell has allowed more than 2 earned runs in a start just once in his 14 outings this season. He did recently struggle with his control, walking 4 batters in 3 straight starts, but any emotional letdown after his streak ended appears to be over and he is back to being one of the Rays’ top pitching prospects. If Snell keeps performing like this, the Rays will have to consider letting him finish the season at Triple-A. And at that point, they would also need to consider bringing him up for a bullpen role in September.

Snell’s run support came from Cameron Seitzer, who drilled a 3-run home run, Dayron Varona, who went 2 for 4 with a run scored, and the duo of Joey Rickard and Tyler Goeddel, who each went 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Rickard was also hit by a pitch while Goeddel also drew a walk. Patrick Leonard also had a big game, going 1 for 2 with a double, 2 walks, a stolen base, and an RBI.

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High-A Florida State League: Clearwater Threshers (PHI) 3, Charlotte Stone Crabs 1

German Marquez kept the Stone Crabs in this game, but he was certainly not at his best. He went 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 9 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. Kyle McKenzie followed with 2 shutout innings getting past 2 hits and Brad Schreiber tossed a perfect ninth, but it was already too late. Kean Wong went 2 for 4 at the plate while Jace Conrad went 1 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored, but Charlotte didn’t get much else. The steal and the walk were both the first at High-A for Conrad, but after a stole 21 bases at Low-A, expect plenty more in the coming weeks.

Low-A Midwest League: Fort Wayne TinCaps (SDP) 2, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0

This game was a little unfortunate for the Hot Rods. Henry Centeno pitched very well, allowing just 3 hit and a walk in 6 innings while striking out 6, but he wound up allowing 2 unearned runs after errors on back-to-back plays. Bowling Green also went 2 for 6 with runners in scoring position, but they had one runner thrown out at home while the other had to be held at third base. Riley Unroe, Carter Burgess, and Justin Williams all went 2 for 4 while Bralin Jackson went 1 for 3 with a walk, but none of them could cross the plate.

Centeno, who turns 21 in August, faced a difficult assignment this season as he jumped from the Gulf Coast League to Low-A, but he has held his own, pitching to a 4.36 ERA. He is a lean right-hander at 6’2″, 174, and the Rays are expecting him to take another step forward once he spends some time in the weight room. Edgar Gomez finished the game for Bowling Green, working around 2 hits with a strikeout in the final 2 fames. He has a 3.27 ERA and an excellent 40-11 strikeout to walk ratio in 41.1 innings this season.

Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 7, West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) 1

Travis Ott, one of the throw-ins as part of the Wil Myers trade, delivered his second strong outing for the Renegades, allowing 1 run on 4 hits in 5 innings, striking out 5 while walking none. Ott, who just turned 20, has touched 95 MPH in the past and is hoping to continue refining his stuff on his way to some Low-A time later this season. Justin McCalvin followed with 3 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits while striking out 4, before Bradley Wallace finished the game with a perfect inning.

Most of the Renegades’ offense came from a pair of blasts. Danny De la Calle drilled a 3-run homer while Hector Montes followed up his 2-homer day on Sunday by drilling a 2-run shot and adding a sac fly. Cade Gotta also went 1 for 2 with 2 walks, a stolen base, and a run scored while Michael Russell went 1 for 3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Jake Cronenworth also had a bizarre game, going 0 for 0 with 3 walks, 2 hit-by-pitches, 2 caught stealings, and a run scored.

Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 4, Greeneville Astros 2

Jose Mujica celebrated his 19th birthday yesterday by tossing 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. Mujica disappeared off the map last year, making just 2 appearances at Rookie ball, but he is back and turning himself into one of the Rays’ top pitching prospects. Ian Gibaut followed with 2 shutout innings, allowing just a hit while striking out 4, before Armando Bastardo finished with 2 scoreless frames working around a hit and a walk while striking out 2.

Non-drafted free agent Peter Maris led the Princeton offense by going 1 for 3 with a triple, 2 RBI, and a run scored while Zacrey Law went 1 for 3 with an RBI and Brett Sullivan went 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored.

Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Twins 3, GCL Rays 1

The Tampa Bay Rays have lost two top middle infield prospects, Daniel Robertson and Andrew Velazquez, to broken hamate bones this season. Velazquez is finally on his way back after playing in the first 5 innings of this game. He went 0 for 1 with a walk at the plate and successfully made plays on all 3 balls hit to him at shortstop. Velazquez has made just 74 plate appearances for Charlotte, and hopefully he is making it back in time to play well for a few months and make it to Double-A early next season.

Devin Davis, a 25th round pick from this year’s draft who signed for an above-slot bonus, made his pro debut and went 1 for 2. He is a power-hitting first baseman, and the Rays have to feel lucky that they could sign him so late in the draft. Gilbert Marrero also went 1 for 2 while Juan Rodriguez went 1 for 3. Needless to say, there wasn’t much offense in this game from the GCL Rays.

Jose Disla started for the Grays and did a better job throwing strikes after walking 5 in his first outing. He tossed 4.2 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. After non-drafted free agent Ty Nichols allowed a pair of runs, the Rays’ 33rd and 32nd picks in this year’s draft looked excellent to the end the game. Collin Chapman struck out the side in the eighth before Ty Jackson struck out 2 in the ninth. The GCL Rays actually have three “Ty”s at the moment counting outfielder Ty Morrison.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Gillaspie, Honeywell Charlotte’s New Stars

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