Needed it ‘so bad’: The Rays Blake Snell is first The Show champ

By Mandy Bell, Adam Berry, Do-Hyoung Park and Juan Toribio  @adamdberry and @dohyoungpark and @juanctoribio and @MandyBell02 of MLB.COM

He needed it so bad, and on Sunday he got it.

Blake Snell (Rays) captured the inaugural MLB The Show Players League championship, sweeping Lucas Giolito (White Sox) with three straight victories to claim the best-of-five virtual World Series. And with MLB Network’s Robert Flores teasing a trophy in a shiny black-and-gold briefcase, it looks like Snell will even receive some hardware.

“What does the trophy look like, RoFlo,” Snell said. “I need to see it!”

• Awards handed out for The Show Players League

Snell’s victory means $30,000 will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast.

Snell on winning Players League

As the Players League unfolded, Snell established himself as the clear favorite to win the championship. The 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner opened the virtual season with a 2-2 record, but he quickly bounced back, winning 22 of his last 25 regular-season games. Including the postseason, Snell won 26 of his last 29 matchups overall, suffering just one loss over the three playoff series against Gavin Lux (Dodgers), Jeff McNeil (Mets) and Giolito.

Snell earned the top seed during the regular season, thanks to a relentless offensive attack that saw him score a league-leading 145 runs. That attack carried into the postseason.

• Full Players League results and standing

“I haven’t faced many hitters like Blake,” said Giolito. “He just sees the ball really well. It was an offensive onslaught, and it was too much to overcome. He’s very, very good at this.”

Snell didn’t waste much time getting the party started in Game 1 of the championship series. The Rays left-hander hit a leadoff home run with Willy Adames and then added homers by Mike Zunino and Austin Meadows, who helped introduce the Rays’ lineup on his 25th birthday. Snell went on to win Game 1, 5-1, and the tournament’s top-seeded player didn’t look back.

“I don’t know, man,” Giolito said with a smile. “These are going to be some long games for your boy.”