Major League Baseball

Snell looks to right ship in Rays-Rangers finale

mlb5RANGERS (46-37) AT RAYS (47-36)
1:10 p.m. ET; FS-SUN, FSSW, MLB.TV

Tampa Bay left-hander and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell looks to get back on track Sunday and help the Rays win their series against the visiting Texas Rangers.

Right-hander Jesse Chavez (3-2, 2.79 ERA) of the Rangers opposes Snell (4-7, 5.01) in the finale.

Snell will be happy to see the calendar page turn to July. In five June starts, he has an 11.94 ERA, allowing at least six runs in three of five outings. On Tuesday, he gave up seven runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings of a loss to the Twins.

Relying on his fastball, Snell got through the first two innings while allowing just a run but was touched for three in the third and three more in the fourth.

“I want to succeed so bad,” Snell told MLB.com. “And for me to not succeed the way I want to, it’s tough. It’s tough to sleep. It’s tough to do things right and still do wrong. It’s very tough.

“But I know how good I am, and I know with how hard I work that I know I’m going to come through this and be a better player from it.”

Facing the Rangers may help Snell regain his form. He’s 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in two career starts versus Texas, both coming last year.

Chavez, usually employed as a long reliever, allowed one unearned run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings of a win against Detroit on Tuesday. He struck out seven and induced eight groundouts in what was his first traditional start of the season

“I try to rely on location, as much as I can — and some days I have it, some days I don’t,” Chavez told reporters afterward. “Today, I did.”

Chavez has allowed one earned run over 14 1/3 innings in his past three appearances. During that stretch, he’s struck out 14 batters without a walk.

He’s 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA in nine career appearances (one start) against the Rays.

Tampa Bay evened the series on Saturday thanks to Brendan McKay, who took a perfect game into the sixth inning in his major league debut. McKay went six innings and gave one hit and a walk while striking out three in the Rays’ 5-2 win.

“The way he carried himself, it was kind of unflappable,” manager Kevin Cash told reporters. “You would not have thought, if you just picked up and turned on the TV, that that was his first major league start. He picked us up in a big way.”

Avisail Garcia, Willy Adames and Travis d’Arnaud homered for the Rays, who had lost three of their previous four games.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Joey Gallo each doubled and scored a run for the Rangers, who had won six straight. Texas can complete a 5-1 road trip with a win on Sunday.

“I tell our guys every day that it’s the most important game of the year, because it’s the only one we can win,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward told reporters. “We’re not going to worry about the day after tomorrow, we’re going to worry about tomorrow. And (Sunday) is a big game. … To beat these guys two out of three would be a great way to go home before the (All-Star) break.”

–Field Level Media

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