Rays Pitching Stifles Blue Jays in Game One Victory

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Rays 3, Blue Jays 1

The Tampa Bay Rays took Game One against the Toronto Blue Jays in typical Rays form. Their pitching was superb, defense came up big, and one swing of the bat was all they needed. The pitching duel was led by Blake Snell who was able to pitch into the sixth inning, surrendering one hit and striking out nine Jays hitters. The Blue Jays had success on the mound with their combination of Matt Shoemaker and Robbie Ray. The pair went six strong innings only allowing one run on a wild pitch in the fourth.

Offensive highlights were few and far between until the big blow would come in the bottom of the seventh. With the Rays clinging to a 1-0 lead, Manuel Margot drove a two-run homer to left which extended the lead to three runs. The Rays bullpen would do the rest.

Snell’s Solid Start

Blake Snell’s bump day hasn’t been what it was back in his Cy Young season of 2018. Nonetheless, the Rays handed the southpaw the ball for game one. He did not disappoint. He got ahead of hitters with his fastball and put them away with his off-speed pitches below the zone. Pitching deep into the game has been a struggle for Snell in 2020 so getting an out into the sixth inning was definitely satisfactory. He finished with a pitching line of 5 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts and only allowing three Blue Jays hitters to reach base.

Surprise Power Source

The Blue Jays pitching was keeping the Rays hitters off balance through the first six innings of the game. With the long ball being such a big part of the game, one of these teams was sure to see one leave the yard. Not many thought it would come off the bat of Manuel Margot.  Margot only hit one home run in the 60-game season. That would not qualify as a power threat. While Margot will get the credit for the home run, it should be assisted by Joey Wendle who was on first base. With a slim 1-0 lead and a 1-1 count, Wendle saw several throw overs to first base. A hit and run was something the Blue Jays were certainly defending against. With so much attention being paid to Wendle, Aj Cole grooved a fastball over the heart plate. When it landed, the score would read 3-0 Rays.

Closer in the 7th

Kevin Cash has a stable of arms at his disposal and will let them loose when he sees fit. When Snell departed he went to Diego Castillo and Nick Anderson for seven big outs before the ninth. Both pitchers make regular appearances in the eighth and ninth inning so seeing them this early in the game may have surprised some people. With Anderson going 1 2/3 innings, Cash went to Pete Fairbanks to save the game. He would allow a one-out double while striking out two. The Rays bullpen has been one of its strengths throughout the year and it came up big in game one. Kevin Cash knows that there are big outs to get well before the ninth and will bring in who he needs, when the team needs it.

Hard Shots, No Luck

The Blue Jays actually outhit the Rays 5-4. Their outs were also much louder. The problem was, the Rays seemed to have a fielder right where the ball was hit. Whether it was up the middle or in the hole, the Rays scouting report had their defense lined up property every time. If the Jays are to extend their season, they will have to find some green grass or bleacher seats.

Up Next

Game Two is Wednesday at 4:00 PM ET.  The Rays will look to close out the series behind Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow went 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA.

The Blue Jays will counter with their left-handed ace Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu led the Jays in wins and will look to give the Jays a chance to force a Game Three.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images