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Snell's 12-K day among 4 takeaways for Rays

Ace outdueled by Tanaka in finale of 3-3 homestand
@juanctoribio
May 12, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays finished their six-game homestand with a 7-1 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, going 3-3 over the past week at Tropicana Field. During the homestand, the Rays took two of three against the D-backs and lost the series to the Yankees, winning just the middle

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays finished their six-game homestand with a 7-1 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, going 3-3 over the past week at Tropicana Field.

During the homestand, the Rays took two of three against the D-backs and lost the series to the Yankees, winning just the middle game over the weekend. The Rays also dealt with injuries, placing catchers Mike Zunino and Michael Perez and starter Tyler Glasnow on the 10-day injured list.

Box score

Here are four takeaways from the Rays' homestand as the team heads to Miami and New York for a five-game trip:

Snell regains form
Despite the loss, it was the second consecutive encouraging outing for Rays ace Blake Snell, who allowed two runs and struck out 12 on Sunday.

"I thought he was outstanding," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He was really good ... when you limit a team like that to those few runs, you expect that you're going to have a chance to win."

Snell struggled in his first two starts off the injured list, but he bounced back on Monday against the D-backs, striking out nine and taking a perfect game into the sixth inning in the win. The left-hander allowed just two runs and struck out 21 batters in 11 2/3 innings this homestand. However, he said he "has to be better" after picking up his fourth loss of the season.

"I felt good. I just have to be better," Snell said. "I let some things get away from me to where I didn't execute pitches as well as I should have. Overall a frustrating outing."

Dealing with injuries
Before the weekend series started against the Yankees, Cash praised New York for maintaining a winning record despite having multiple key players on the injured list to start the season. Now with Glasnow, Zunino, Perez, Joey Wendle and Matt Duffy out with injury, Cash knows it's the Rays' turn to weather the storm and continue to play good baseball.

"We talk about our depth and our versatility," Cash said. "We need to have it show up now."

Cash said he was encouraged with what he saw from new catchers Travis d'Arnaud, who was acquired from the Dodgers on Friday, and Anthony Bemboom, who went 0-for-2 in his Major League debut on Sunday, but now it's just a matter of having both players spend more time with the pitchers over the next couple of weeks.

According to Stats LLC, Bemboom, 29, was the first player to catch a reigning Cy Young Award winner in his Major League debut since Boston's John Marzona caught Roger Clemens on July 31, 1987, at Kansas City. At 29 years, 114 days, Bemboom was the oldest player to ever do this in his Major League debut.

"He looked very composed, very comfortable," Snell said, when asked about Bemboom. "You couldn't tell it was a debut for him. He was very good."

RISP woes
Throughout the week, the Rays struggled to capitalize on opportunities with runners in scoring position. Tampa Bay missed on a bases-loaded, no-out opportunity in Wednesday's loss against the D-backs and in Friday's loss to the Yankees.

In the three wins, Tampa Bay hit .375 (12-for-32) with runners in scoring position, but that number drastically declined in the three losses, with a .074 average (2-for-27) in such situations.

Meadows returns in a big way
Austin Meadows was the lone bright spot for the Rays offensively on Sunday, launching his eighth home run of the season in the sixth inning off Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Meadows, who returned from the injured list on Friday, picked up right where he left off, going 5-for-12 with two home runs over the weekend.

"He looked really on time with everything," Cash said Friday. "A very simple approach, but he picked us up in a big way."

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.