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Morning Mound Visit: Blake Snell, Brandon Lowe help Rays even series

Brandon Lowe lives.

World Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With their ace going against Tony Gonsolin and the Dodger bullpen, the Tampa Bay Rays needed to win Game 2 of the World Series. Ultimately, the Rays got 4 23 stellar innings from Blake Snell who kept the Dodgers hitless until the fifth, the bullpen kept LA from coming back, and the Rays evened the series at one game apiece with a crucial 6-4 win.

Snell struggled to get the Dodger hitters to chase outside the strike zone, but he was virtually untouchable in the zone. Dodgers swung at 13 sliders thrown by Snell, swinging and missing at nine of them.

The Dodgers deserve credit for how they approached Snell. By not expanding the zone, they were able to drive up the pitch count and get him out of the game and force the bullpen to throw more innings.

Of course, getting to face Tampa’s bullpen isn’t exactly an advantage, but even with days off, this series might come down to whose pitchers are better rested.

On offense, Brandon Lowe socked two dingers, driving in three of Tampa’s six runs. Lowe hadn’t been hitting earlier in the postseason. After going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in Game 1, Lowe was slashing just .107/.180/.161 in 61 plate appearances. During the regular season, Lowe was a major part of Tampa’s offense, posting a .385 wOBA and 150 wRC+. If Lowe hits more like himself, Tampa’s chances of winning this series suddenly become very real.

Russell Carleton | Baseball Prospectus $: There’s evidence that while the shift is a net positive against left-handed hitters, it’s actually disastrous against righties. What gives?

Ben Lindbergh | The Ringer: Speaking of the shift, it may have cost Atlanta a pennant and it nearly cost a pennant for the Rays. Any yet, the Rays and Dodgers, two of the most data-driven teams in baseball, continue to shift against right handers.

Ben Godar | Viva El Birdos: Cardinals Devil Magic might produce an outfielder with a 130 wRC+ that comes out of nowhere every year, but it hasn’t helped St. Louis in making trades. One could argue that the Cardinals haven’t won a trade since 2016.