The Rays lost Game 1 of the 2020 World Series to the Dodgers and during said defeat their pitchers coughed up eight runs on 10 hits while walking seven. They were sorely in need of a big start from lefty Blake Snell and they got it in spades ... for 4 2/3 innings. It was actually jarring how fast Snell's Game 2 outing came to an end on Wednesday considering how it looked just a few minutes earlier.
Snell allowed a two-run homer from Chris Taylor with two outs in the fifth inning, cutting the Rays' lead to 5-2. That was actually the first hit he allowed. Next, he walked Mookie Betts and gave up a Corey Seager single, muddying up his line a bit. But still, Snell delivered what the Rays needed in their Game 2 victory to even up the series.
Through the second out in the fifth inning, here was Snell's line: 4 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. Fourteen outs without surrendering a hit. That's some serious dealing.
Though he did walk more hitters than one would prefer, the final result from Snell is very palatable for the Rays. The Dodgers had the best offense in baseball this year and are prone to exploding on any given day, as we all witnessed in Game 1, not to mention Game 3 of the NLCS in this same ballpark.
Snell had them looking foolish at the plate for 4 2/3 innings. Watch some of these swings and misses:
Of his 88 pitches, 13 were swing-and-miss, 19 called strikes and 10 foul balls. Every pitch was working for those first 4 2/3 innings, but especially the slider. Nine of the 13 swings and misses came against the Snell slider.
Now, there might be some consternation about Snell only being able to record 14 outs. After all, he won the 2018 Cy Young. But he still hasn't completed six full innings since July 21, 2019. The thing to consider here is the strength of the Dodgers' offense and the knowledge of what even average offenses do to pitchers a third time through the order. Plus, the Rays had all their bullpen aces rested and ready. They often shorten games like this and usually win them. They did so this time again, and -- to use the beautifully simple and accurate phrase: All is well that ends well.
The bottom line: Blake Snell did his job in Game 2 for the Rays and he did it at a high level, even if the bottom fell out the last few hitters. The Rays are now even with the Dodgers, 1-1, in the 2020 World Series.