ARLINGTON -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke before the game about Tuesday night's starting pitcher Blake Snell and his quest for his 20th win."He's continued to get better throughout the year. He's really gotten hot after the break, and he's provided us a huge boost. The guy is
ARLINGTON -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke before the game about Tuesday night's starting pitcher Blake Snell and his quest for his 20th win.
"He's continued to get better throughout the year. He's really gotten hot after the break, and he's provided us a huge boost. The guy is dominating. The numbers speak for themselves. Blake's as big a reason as us being kind of unique with our pitching staff; allowing us to do some different things with the opener and the guys that come in and finish because of the length and consistency that he's provided. To go and get the wins that he has against some really, really strong teams and what he's done recently has to put himself in consideration [for the Cy Young Award].
"He understands the magnitude of 20. He understands he's probably going to have multiple chances. I'm sure he wants to get it accomplished today. His overall stuff is pretty electric."
Choi's 'big boost'
Cash was also very positive about Ji-Man Choi, who had a really good game Monday night, going 2-for-4 with a home run. Choi drove in two of the Rays' runs in their 3-0 win over Texas Monday night.
"I think consistency has definitely helped him. I think it helps most players," Cash said of Choi. "You can't take away that he's made the most of it [the opportunity to play]. We want him in there. He's provided such a big boost for us."
Choi, from South Korea, admitted that he has admired the Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo, also from South Korea, since high school. He noted that Choo, who is nine years older than Choi, went straight to the U.S. to start his professional baseball career instead of playing professionally in Korea first. That led Choi to do the same.
Choo, then an established Major League player, reached out to Choi as he worked his way up the Minor League ladder. Choo often sent him equipment such as batting gloves, and they made some kind of contact at least every month.
Choi has always appreciated the encouragement, and he feels that Choo especially helped with the mental part of the game.
After Monday night's game, Choo and Choi went out to dinner together.
• The Rays chose not to take batting practice on the field prior to Tuesday's game. Hitting was optional in the batting cages.
• Mallex Smith was out of Tuesday's starting lineup, and Cash said it was just a scheduled day off.
*Dic Humphrey * is a contributor to MLB.com.