Chris Archer, Adam Ottavino speak out about All-Star Game snubs

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The 2018 All-Star Game rosters were just announced. One of the obvious snubs is Rays starter Blake Snell. The 25-year-old lefty sports a 12-4 record with a league-best 2.09 ERA along with 132 strikeouts and 44 walks in 116 innings. Snell wasn’t given on the American League roster nor was he included among the five candidates in the Final Vote.

Snell’s rotation-mate Chris Archer took to Instagram to protest the lefty’s exclusion:

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Such a JOKE. @snellzilla4 IS AN ALL STAR.

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Archer also posted a video in which he said:

Guys, I have an issue. My teammate, my close friend Blake Snell was not a unanimous selection for the All-Star Game. That’s a joke. Something like that can’t happen. He leads the league in ERA. That means he’s given up the fewest amount of runs per nine innings out of any starting pitcher in the league. Now, there’s a way that he can get in as an alternate or replacement or a backup, but he’s not that. He should be in the running to start the game. He’s extremely talented. He’s been doing it all year. There’s no reason that this should happen. Players, coaches, managers: we have to do a better job with the selection process so we can put the best talent out on the field for the fans in the Midsummer Classic. If you didn’t have him on your ballot, I hope that next year you take it a little bit more serious and put in the due diligence ’cause this is important.

Astros starter Justin Verlander backed up Archer’s complaint on Twitter, saying, “Also, because we vote waaay too early. Could easily punch in our votes on an iPad a couple days before instead of the old school envelope weeks before.”

On the National League side of things, Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino was one of a handful of snubs. The 32-year-old right-hander carries a 1.79 ERA with a 63/16 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings. However, Ottavino’s exclusion is more understandable because he only ranks 13th among qualified NL relievers in ERA. Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was also snubbed and he leads all NL relievers with a 1.05 ERA. Among those 13, Edubray Ramos, Yoshihisa Hirano, Kyle Barraclough, Jared Hughes, Kirby Yates, Tony Watson, Brandon Morrow, Andrew Chafin, and Arodys Vizcaino were also left off the roster. Can’t bring everyone.

Per Nick Groke of The Athletic, Ottavino said, “I’m not surprised. It’s because I’m on the Rockies. Pitchers don’t get any credit playing for the Rockies.”

Ottavino does have a point. Coors Field is the most hitter-friendly park in baseball and while stats sites like Baseball Reference and FanGraphs make adjustments for park effects, not everyone knows about or cares about adjusting for that. Starter Kyle Freeland was a bigger snub than Ottavino. The lefty has a 3.18 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 37 walks in 110 1/3 innings. While defense-independent stats don’t portray him as a particularly menacing starter, he has more than held his own at Coors Field, putting together a 2.89 ERA at home and 3.38 on the road. Only eight qualified NL starters have a lower ERA and the only one among them not on the NL All-Star roster is the Brewers’ Junior Guerra (2.79). Ottavino has had a terrific season, but if one Rockies pitcher is going to be added to the NL roster, it should be Freeland, not Ottavino.

Manoah, Merrifield lead Blue Jays to 3-1 win over Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alek Manoah pitched seven shutout innings, Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays regained the top AL wild-card spot with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays lead Tampa Bay by one game. The top wild card finisher will host all games in their best-of-three opening-round series, while the other two wild cards play strictly on the road.

Manoah (15-7) scattered four hits, walked two and struck out eight while throwing a season-high 113 pitches. The righty worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Randy Arozarena and getting a flyout from David Peralta.

Jordan Romano replaced Tim Mayza with two on and two outs in the eighth and allowed pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez‘s RBI infield single but avoided further damage by striking out Manuel Margot. Romano finished the game to get his 35th save in 41 chances.

Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen (10-7) gave up one run, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

The teams combined for 31 runs, with the Rays accounting for 20, in the first two games of the series that were both won by Tampa Bay.

Arozarena got the Rays’ first hit off Manoah with a two-out double in the fourth. He became the first Tampa Bay player and 20th big leaguer to have 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Teoscar Hernandez ended Rasmussen’s night with a double in the seventh. Brooks Raley entered and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Danny Jansen, Merrifield made it 3-0 on his 10th homer of the season.

Merrifield homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

Alejandro Kirk opened the second with a single before Rasmussen retired 12 in a row until Merrifield’s leadoff double in the sixth.

Plate umpire Corey Blaser took a hard foul ball by Margot on the mask in the eighth but remained in the game.

HONORING KK

The Rays posted a thank you on the message board for CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is out for the season following left hip surgery. Kiermaier is in the final season of a $53.5 million, six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 that is expected to be declined.

TEAM AWARDS

Rays ace Shane McClanahan was voted the Don Zimmer MVP award winner by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. CF Jose Siri was selected as the outstanding rookie. 3B Yandy Diaz received the Paul C. Smith Champions award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (lat strain) allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Buffalo.

Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (lower back) is done for the season.

UP NEXT

McClanahan (12-6), pulled from his start Tuesday in the fifth inning due to neck tightness, will face Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (8-4) on Sunday.