It’s crazy when you consider that though the Rays are in the postseason for the fourth time in six years, they hadn’t made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2008… That is, until last night. Alex Cobb, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney did what they are wont to do, shutting down the Indians in their first postseason appearance since 2007. On the other end of things, the offense did just enough, tagging Salazar and Co for four runs in last night’s 4-0 victory. How sweet it is! I live blogged the game, and you can read all of my annoying witticisms at out Tumblr site. A few hungover thoughts and game peripherals are below.
- It all starts with Cobb. It was obvious from the get go, Alex Cobb didn’t have his A+ stuff Wednesday night — the fastball was spotty and his change-up was all over the place. A+ stuff be damned, Cobb was still able to throw goose eggs on the scoreboard over the span of his 6-2/3 inning outing. The Rays dependable righty scattered nine hits over the course of his start, getting into three wRISP jams along the way. But, akin to a seasoned vet, he was able to make the all important big pitch to put down any Indians uprising — subsequently preserving the shutout.Cobb got into a major jam in the fifth inning with men on the corners and no outs. Cobber wrung up Michael Bourn, then coaxed a ground ball out of Nick Swisher to James Loney at first base. Loney stepped on the bag for the second out, then threw home to hold the runner at third. Though the play allowed Lonnie Chisenhall to advance to second, it prevented a run from scoring. My only criticism of the play, is that the Rays could have caught the runner at third in an inning ending run down. Alex worked two outs into the seventh, allowing the bullpen to rest up for the series in Boston. Not bad for his first postseason start.
- Delmonster strikes again! Delmon Young got the scoring started in the third inning, blasting a letter high 95mph fastball to deep left field. As Erik Hahmann of DRaysBay noted, “Right handed batters slugged over .550 against Danny Salazar’s fastball this season. Delmon Young is a fastball hitter who isn’t afraid to swing. On this night, Delmon came out on top.” Then with two outs and two on in the fourth inning, Desmond Jennings ripped a two run double down the left field line, giving Tampa Bay a three run lead. Yunel Escobar drove in an insurance run in the ninth, giving the Rays a 4-0 lead they’d never relinquish.
Tampa Bay has an off-day ahead of game one of the ALDS in Boston, Friday — the fourth game in the fourth different city inside of a week for the Rays. On the bright side, at least they won’t be eliminated right away if they lose the first game this time — a welcome feeling for sure. We’ll have an ALDS preview either later today, or early tomorrow.