The Tampa Bay Rays took game one of a three game set against the San Diego Padres by a score of 6-3 Friday night, a game that would go down in annals of MLB history. To be fair, it was an odd game to say the least.
On one hand, Alex Cobb only lasted 4-2/3 innings — breaking the streak of Rays starting pitchers lasting at least five innings –throwing 117 pitches (77 for strikes) with 33 coming in the first inning alone. On the other hand, he struck out 13 in his 4-2/3 innings outing, and became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out 13 while working less than five innings. And though Cobb put the Rays behind early on — thanks to a pair of solo homers and a balk — he was downright whiffy overall, inducing 23 swinging strikes (21 on the changeup, 43% swung at and missed) and striking out 56.5% of the batters he faced. And if that isn’t weird enough, Cobb became the first pitcher in at least 100 years to face four batters in an inning, strikeout all four, and still allow a run. Efficiency aside, Cobb was deadly Friday night.
Just look at the strikezone plot of his at bat results:
Think back to the Rays/Yankees game last season, when David Price was lauded for his five inning heavy-lifting outing. I’d reckon that Cobb may have bested him last night.
The bullpen handily picked up where Cobb left off, with Josh Lueke, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney combining for 4-1/3 innings of no hit, two walk, five strikeout ball. Lueke was on fire. Having been called up from Durham for the injured Brandon Gomes, no one expected Lueke to take the hill Friday night due to a 29 pitch outing the previous night. Low and behold, Maddon called him into the game with two outs in the fifth. Leuke threw 1.1 innings of perfect ball, striking out two along the way. Jake McGee followed in the seventh with a bounce back performance, looking like the Jake McGee of old. Perhaps a couple days of boded well for the left handed reliever.
Offensively speaking, the Rays kept on it’s torrid pace. Consider that Tampa Bay posted a combined .292 BA/.355 OBP/.477 SLG/.832 OPS slash line over the last 14 days, scoring 73 runs and driving in 68 RBI going into last night’s match-up. The Rays now lead MLB with 124 runs scored in their last 22 games.
Runs were at a premium in the first six innings, with the Rays scoring only two runs on three hits, a few walks and a wild pitch. Then in the seventh inning — with the team down by one — the offense came alive.
If a picture speaks a thousand words, this one should speak volumes:
The New What Next
Tampa Bay will try to extend its winning streak to four against the hard throwing Burch Smith and the San Diego Padres. Hellboy is scheduled to take the hill for the Rays. You can read more on the match-up here.
Rays 5/11/13 Starting Lineup
- Desmond Jennings is out of the lineup again today. He is reportedly experiencing some soreness.
- Put this in your pipe and smoke it: Evan Longoria is hitting .524 with 9 RBI five games into the 10-game home-stand.