Snell, Rays consider rookie year a success

Left-hander's final start cut short due to 1-hour, 16-minute rain delay

Snell, Rays consider rookie year a success

CHICAGO -- Blake Snell looked as comfortable as a duck in water on Wednesday night when he made his final start of his rookie season in rainy conditions at U.S. Cellular Field.

The left-hander hails from the Seattle area, so he pitched in similar conditions on many occasions while growing up in the shadow of Mount Rainier.

"I enjoy pitching in the rain," Snell said. "... It doesn't bother me. I think it's an advantage. It's cold, it's windy, it's rainy. I don't feel like the hitters -- they're cold, they come in and out. I don't know, I feel like it's an advantage. It was hard for me to see a sign, so I know it was hard to see the ball."

Unfortunately for Snell, the 1-hour 16-minute delay due to those conditions brought an end to his first Major League season during the Rays' 1-0 loss to the White Sox.

"Coming in we made a decision, which was a smart decision, to get him out of there," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You know, if we're in a 15- or 20-minute delay, we probably think a little bit differently. But given that went over an hour. ... That stinks, because I know he was eager to get out there and continue pitching."

Snell said he "felt really good today."

"Probably about the best I've felt arm-wise and body-wise, so I wished it didn't rain and seen what would have happened," Snell said. "Just one of those days I guess."

Snell held the White Sox scoreless on one hit while striking out four over 2 2/3 innings before the rain caused delay. Once it stopped, Ryan Garton took over and Snell's season was complete.

The left-hander finishes his season 6-8 with a 3.54 ERA in 19 starts.

Among the other highlights of his season, he allowed just five home runs in 89 innings, which converts to 0.51 home runs per nine innings ratio. That ranked first among rookies and surpassed Scott Kazmir's club rookie record of 0.58.

In addition, he struck out 98 in 89 innings, for a ratio of 9.91 strikeouts per nine innings.

Snell pitched into September for the first time and came away unscathed, despite throwing a career-high 152 innings between Triple-A Durham and the Majors. His previous high was 134.

"We're probably more excited about Blake now than we were his first start up here," Cash said. "We've seen him grow a little bit. We've seen him struggle. He's handled the bulk of those struggles, and he's still continued to evolve as a really good young starting pitcher."

Snell said he thought he experienced "a good learning year."

"I learned a lot from it," Snell said. "I'm just happy that I had an open mind. ... I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge from the time I came up to now."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.