Blake Snell will take the mound for the Rays on Thursday against the Twins in Minnesota. Snell should be pitching in a different kind of game next week, but because the wonky voting system, he will not be pitching in the All-Star Game. His fellow colleagues in Major League Baseball and the fans apparently don’t believe he is an All-Star. I have news for them, Blake Snell certainly deserves to be playing in the midsummer classic.
His next contract is likely going to reflect All-Star numbers, so it’s all that really matters at the end of the day. Snell doesn’t have to prove much with respects to being an All-Star in 2018, but he will have to keep it rolling for a large pay increase. If he regresses significantly, the notion that this was a fluke will begin to be talked about. He finished with an ERA of 4.04 in 2017, a reasonable 3.54 as a rookie in 2016, so this is all kind of new to him.
What he must avoid is turning into another Jeff Locke. Locke had a coming out party of sorts in his third-year in the majors through the first-half of the season. Unlike Snell, Locke actually went to the All-Star Game. However, ever since then, Locke watched his career move backwards instead of forward.
Four years after All-Star status, Locke had an ERA of 8.16 in 7 starts and is out of the major leagues at the moment. Nevertheless, Snell has looked on another level, as he has hit an elite status in 2018. The Rays are on a nice little run with six wins in a row. They just swept the Tigers and will look for more success against another AL Central opponent, the Minnesota Twins. The Twins trail the Indians by a pretty large margin in the division. The Tribe have zero competition, with the AL Central just about a wrap and it’s July 12th. I’m not going to say it’s a definite conclusion, but it feels fairly darn close. Get our free Rays vs. Twins pick below.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins Pick
Blake Snell (12-4, 2.09 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (3-6, 3.59 ERA)
Snell came out and said he’s frustrated with the All-Star snub. He really couldn’t have done anything else to get a ticket to Washington. Snell enters with an ERA of 2.09, 2nd in the American League behind only Justin Verlander. He has allowed 1 or no runs in 8 of his last 9 starts. In 4 he pitched shutouts. That isn’t All-Star worthy? Come on now.
The voting system needs to be reworked from just this snub alone. Snell enters with an ERA of 0.42 and 0.88 WHIP in his last three outings. The only team that has been able to solve him since mid-May was the Yankee, and that was at Yankee Stadium. Snell has faced the Twins once this season, allowing 1 run across 5 innings in April.
Kyle Gibson had a couple of below average years for the Twins. He posted ERA’s of 5.07 in 2016 and 2017. Talk about being consistent. That’s not the type of consistent a pitcher wants, though. Gibson enters Thursday with an ERA of 3.59, but he is holding on dearly to keep it together. He has had a 5.21 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and .361 OBA in his last three starts. Gibson has been worse at home with an ERA of 4.44 and .344 OBA, compared to a 2.84 ERA and .277 OBA on the road. It’s hard to fade Snell on a cheap price against Gibson. He is none too pleased with getting the cold shoulder. I expect him to be locked in Thursday against the Twins.