“That was quick,” a good buddy of mine texted following the Rays 5-1 win against the Orioles Saturday. After the previous night’s six hour and fifty four minute marathon, even the most normally paced game can feel incredibly short. It certainly didn’t hurt that Alex Cobb mowed over Baltimore in his 8-1/3 inning outing, ringing up 12 Orioles on 117 pitches (76 for strikes, 66% K%). In short, Cobb was dazzling.
The game didn’t start as smoothly as it could, or should. After Nate McLouth grounded out on the second pitch of the game, Cobb walked Manny Machado on five pitches, following that with a four pitch walk of Adam Jones two batters later. But something clicked in the Rays RHP, and Alex kicked into domination mode. Cobb struck out Nick Markakis (swinging), and followed that by retiring the next 11 batters in order — allowing only three other batters to reach in the fifth, sixth, and ninth innings.
Cobb pounded the zone, baffling the Orioles hitters and getting a good number of swings an misses with his deadly curveball and split-change of destruction (12 whiffs total). When he wasn’t ringing up batters, Cobb was a ground ball inducing machine, getting Baltimore to ground out 11 times. He almost went the distance, but Maddon pulled Cobb — in favor of Fernando Rodney — after he gave up a towering triple to Chris Davis one out into the ninth. To be fair, the hit had more to do with David DeJesus’ errant play when he struggled to discern the ball from the off-white roof of the Trop.
Credit where it’s due, Miguel Gonzalez went tit-for-tat with Cobb in the front four, only allowing four Rays to reach on a pair of walks, a double, and an error. But Tampa Bay would break the game open in the fifth, thanks to a three run, 370 ft shot off the bat of Desmond Jennings. The Rays center fielder is heating up at the right time. Tampa Bay added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Yunel Escobar and Desmond Jennings each hit triples, scoring a run. Jennings scored on the next play behind a Ben Zobrist single to center field.
The New What Next
The Rays promoted Enny Romero for today’s start against Scott Feldmon, after Jeremy Hellickson (who was slated to start today’s game) pitched in Friday’s marathon game. Romero posted a 2.76 ERA in 27 games with the Montgomery Biscuits this season. Romero put together an outstanding performance in his lone Triple-A start, throwing eight scoreless innings. Michael Valancius writes,
“His arsenal features three main pitches. His best is a fastball that normally sits 93-96, though he has had starts where he is more in the 94-98 range and touching triple digits. The pitch is explosive and overpowers right handed hitters when thrown on the inside corner. His next best pitch is a curveball that has come a long way. It has some 11-6 break and comes in decently hard. He can struggle to throw it for strikes at time, but when it is on, it is an extremely good pitch (70 grade). He threw some absolute beauties in the Future’s Game. His third pitch is a change-up, and it has also progressed to the point of where it is an average pitch, if not better. He has also thrown a cutter, but his usage of it is inconsistent and it isn’t a good pitch.”
You can check out our series preview here.
Rays 9/22/13 Starting Lineup
- Initially in the lineup, Longo has been scratched, reportedly for suffering flu like symptoms.
- The Rays have called up RHP J.D. Martin from Triple-A, and he’ll available out of the bullpen today. In other words, Jesse Crain will not be activated today.