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#pounditFriday, May 7, 2021

Articles tagged: Tampa Bay Rays

Blake Snell has great reaction to Wendy’s ruthlessly roasting Rays

Blake Snell

The Tampa Bay Rays asked to be roasted by the official Twitter account for Wendy’s on Thursday, and boy did they get their wish.

Whoever the genius was running Wendy’s Twitter account declared Thursday to be #NationalRoastDay. What followed was several prominent people, companies and organizations volunteering to be roasted by the fast food chain. The Rays were among them, and Wendy’s came up with the perfect insult.

For those who don’t understand the reference, the Rays lost Game 6 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers last year after manager Kevin Cash pulled ace Blake Snell in the middle of a gem. Snell had two outs in the sixth inning and had allowed just two hits and no runs at the time of the pitching change.

The Rays lost the game and went on to lose the World Series.

Snell, who was traded to the San Diego Padres in a blockbuster deal back in December, loved the Wendy’s burn. He tweeted a great reaction:

Cash tried his best to defend the decision, but it was not the right one. You can see his explanation here.

The Rays should be careful what they wish for next time.

Kevin Kiermaier could be next Rays player to be traded

Kevin Kiermaier

The Tampa Bay Rays completed a blockbuster trade on Sunday night when they sent former AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres, and that may not be the only big deal they make this winter.

With Snell headed to San Diego, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Rays have now placed center fielder Kevin Kiermaier on the trade block.

Kiermaier is a career .248 hitter who is known mostly for his fantastic defense. The 30-year-old has won three Gold Glove Awards and made it clear he felt he was overlooked for a fourth last season. Though, his hitting over the past three seasons has left a lot to be desired.

Kiermaier batted .217 with three home runs, 22 RBI and an ops of .683 in 49 games last season. His batting average is just .221 over the past three years, so any team that acquired him would likely be in desperate need of a defensive outfielder.

The Rays tend to keep low payrolls, which is likely the main reason they traded Snell. Kiermaier signed a six-year, $53.5 million contract with Tampa Bay back in 2017. That was one of the biggest contracts in franchise history. He is owed more than $10 million each of the next three seasons, so it’s not a shock the Rays are looking to move him.

Report: Rays open to Blake Snell trade

Blake Snell

The Tampa Bay Rays may be making a former Cy Young winner available on the trade market this offseason.

According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Rays have told other teams they are open to trading Blake Snell this offseason. The Rays are not actively trying to move Snell, but have made clear that they will entertain offers.

Snell has three years and $42 million remaining on his current contract. The Rays are notorious for maintaining a low payroll, and with Snell’s salary poised to increase in each of the next three seasons, they may see this as the right time to move their ace.

The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels are said to be among the teams with preliminary interest in the left-hander. While Snell would prefer to stay with the Rays, a trade to the Seattle Mariners, his hometown team, would interest him.

If Snell is traded this offseason, his Rays career will have ended with this infamous move by manager Kevin Cash. Ultimately, though, this is likely more about finances than it is about Snell being disgruntled.

Kevin Cash stands by decision that cost Rays World Series in Game 6

Kevin Cash

Kevin Cash is standing by his decision to pull Blake Snell from Game 6 of the World Series last month.

Cash pulled Snell with two outs in the sixth inning of Game 6 with his Tampa Bay Rays leading the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0. Snell was pulled despite throwing a shutout and only having allowed two hits to that point. The move backfired, as the Dodgers quickly took a 2-1 lead and won 3-1.

The Dodgers admitted after the game that the pitching change gave them fresh motivation.

Even though the decision worked out terribly, Cash says he would do it again.

“I would make the same decision again,” Cash said during an interview with ESPN’s John Buccigross on “SportsCenter” Tuesday. “Just hope for a much better outcome. And that’s being so respectful of everybody’s opinion that’s out there. But that’s what we do. We pride ourselves on getting the most favorable matchups possible, and in that moment thought that was the best matchup. They don’t always work, and certainly that one didn’t, but I think we have to stick to our thoughts, the information that is provided, and do what is best to help the team win.”

Buccigross pressed Cash on whether the decision was influenced by Tampa Bay’s front office, since the manager said “we” multiple times in his answer.

Cash said they “collaborate and discuss and communicate on a daily basis” but that the front office does not tell him how to do everything.

The Rays have a process and plan and tend to stick with it. Their plan did not seem to take into account the emotional lift and momentum change such a decision would result in. Most people watching could tell you that removing Snell in that situation was a bad choice. The results seem to prove that.

Video: Rays beat Dodgers on crazy final play in Game 4

Rays Dodgers final play

The Tampa Bay Rays won Game 4 of the World Series 8-7 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas thanks to one crazy final play.

The Rays were down 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Dodgers. Kenley Jansen entered the game to try and close things out for the Dodgers. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo struck out to begin the inning, Kevin Kiermaier singled, Joey Wendle lined out, and then Randy Arozarena worked a walk to put runners on first and second with two outs.

Brett Phillips was up, and he dropped a 1-2 pitch into shallow center field. Chris Taylor bobbled the transfer from his glove to his throwing hand, allowing Kiermaier to score the tying run. Taylor regrouped and threw in to Max Muncy, who then sent a relay throw towards catcher Will Smith.

Smith pulled his focus away from making the catch towards trying to put on a tag. As a result, he failed to catch the ball. Arozarena, who tripped and otherwise would have been caught in a rundown, was able to score the winning run.

Somehow only Taylor was charged with an error on the play. Smith deserved one too.

The Dodgers had a chance to go up 3-1 in the series, but they completely collapsed in the field with the comedy of errors on the final play. Now the series is tied 2-2, and the Rays have some momentum entering Sunday’s Game 5.

Video: Longtime Rays fan Dick Vitale reacts to Tampa Bay winning pennant

Dick Vitale Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros 4-2 in Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday night at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. to advance to the World Series for just the second time in their franchise’s history. The big win was rewarding for the team’s fans, including longtime fan Dick Vitale.

Vitale, best known for his passionate college basketball analysis, shared a video on Twitter of his reaction to the Rays making the World Series.

Even at 81, Vitale can still bring the energy and passion. You have to love it.

Vitale is no poser either. He’s been sharing his thoughts on the Rays for years, and isn’t afraid to criticize them. Now he gets the chance to enjoy their success.

Vitale is also pleased about how all the sports teams are performing in the Tampa area.

It’s a good time to be a Tampa sports fan.

Nobody could understand why the Rays pulled Charlie Morton from Game 7

Kevin Cash

The Tampa Bay Rays made a decision during Game 7 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. on Saturday that left many fans confused.

Charlie Morton was the starter for the game and allowed just one hit through five scoreless innings. In the sixth, he got a strikeout, allowed a walk, got a groundout, and then gave up an infield single.

With runners on first and third and two outs, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash removed Morton for reliever Nick Anderson.

Many watching the game could not understand pulling Morton, who had only allowed two hits and a walk in 5.2 innings. Morton had only thrown 66 pitches, too.

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen expressed his disagreement with the move.

So did former Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr.

Some of the modern thinking is that it’s better to pull a pitcher a batter too early than a batter too late. But the risk is you end up pulling a hot pitcher for someone who isn’t as good, like last year’s Game 7 backfire.

Cash pulled his starter quickly in Game 6 of the ALCS on Friday night and stood by the decision, even though it didn’t work out. The man has a plan and sticks with it … even if it doesn’t make much sense to the rest of us.

Rays ride great defensive plays and rally to 3-0 ALCS lead

Kevin Kiermaier catch

The Tampa Bay Rays are a win away from reaching the World Series following a 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the ALCS at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. on Tuesday night. Some great defensive plays and timely hitting helped propel Tampa Bay to the victory.

Kevin Kiermaier, who is known for his strong defense in center field, made a pair of great catches in the game. He robbed Alex Bregman of extra bases in the bottom of the first. Then two innings later, he robbed Carlos Correa of potentially a big hit. Houston had runners on first and second with two out and hit a liner to center. Kiermaier made a great diving catch to end the inning.

Kiermaier later left the game after being hit in the hand by a pitch, but X-rays were negative.

He wasn’t the only Rays player making web gems.

Hunter Renfroe drove in two in the sixth with a bloop double. Then in the seventh, he ended the inning with a diving catch to rob George Spring of a possible run-scoring hit.

Combine that with the call that went against Jose Altuve, and pretty much everything went Tampa Bay’s way. The Rays were able to score all five of their runs in the sixth with some help from an Altuve throwing error. Joey Wendle helped them break through with a 2-run single, and then Renfroe put on the finishing touches.

The Rays now have a 3-0 series lead and are a win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2008.

Why Rays are wearing their old logo on hats in ALCS

Blake Snell

If you haven’t seen much of the Tampa Bay Rays this season and are confused by the caps they’re wearing for Sunday night’s ALCS Game 1, you’re not alone.

The Rays’ Game 1 caps don’t feature the team’s usual “TB” logo. Instead, they depict the old Rays logo that the franchise originally entered the league with in 1998. That’s in spite of the fact that the actual uniforms are the team’s usual light blue alternates with their newer design.

So what’s the deal? This is actually the Rays’ usual attire for Sunday home games. The retro caps were introduced in 2018 for the franchise’s 20th anniversary, and they’ve remained in regular rotation since then. Since the Rays are listed as the home team for Game 1, they’ve simply stuck with their regular uniform rotation.

Expect to see the more traditional caps return for Game 2 and beyond. And we definitely won’t be seeing these things at any point in the playoffs.

Rays made funny T-shirt from Kevin Cash’s inflammatory remark towards Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays logo

The Tampa Bay Rays are definitely not apologizing for antagonizing their AL East division rivals.

During a virtual media session on Wednesday, Rays pitcher Charlie Morton showed off a T-shirt that he and some other teammates were wearing. The shirt depicted several horses in a stable. It was an obvious reference to Rays manager Kevin Cash’s remarks towards the New York Yankees earlier this month when Aroldis Chapman nearly hit Rays infielder Mike Brosseau in the head with a pitch. An angered Cash said afterwards that “I have a whole damn stable of guys who throw 98 mph.”

Here is a look at the shirt:

Yankees manager Aaron Boone rebuked the comment from Cash at the time. It is clear though that the Rays are really doubling down now. The timing could not be better either with Tampa on the cusp of clinching the division.